A new round of grants to encourage growers to invest in crop netting is now open and has been extended to include a broader range of horticulture industries across Western Australia.
A total of $2.6 million has been allocated to WA from the latest round of the Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program to assist growers in purchasing and installing permanent infrastructure.
Netting protects the quality of produce from sunburn, wind, and hail, as well as birds and other large pests, while boosting yields through improved water use efficiency by as much as 20 percent.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is administering the scheme on behalf of the Australian Government. The matching grants, which were previously only available to apple and pear growers, are now available to all fruit and vegetable growers installing permanent netting structures in WA, excluding wine grapes.
Eligible businesses are required to make a dollar-for-dollar co-contribution up to a maximum of $200,000 towards the total cost of purchasing and installing permanent protective netting and associated support structures. DPIRD Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture Director Rohan Prince expected interest in the program to build after the success of the previous round.
“There was good uptake of the rebates, with 23 pome fruit businesses from Perth to the South West sharing in the first round of grants,” Mr. Prince said. “The extension of the program will enable horticulture growers throughout the State to access funds to upgrade their operations and improve the overall productivity and profitability of their business.”
The criteria for the program remain the same, with applicants able to apply for grants for netting installed from 16 December 2019 for apple and pear growers and from 14 December 2021 for all other growers. “The Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program is a great opportunity for growers to upgrade or move into protective netting infrastructure,” Mr. Prince said.
“I encourage all growers to examine protective netting and how the rebates can help them take the next step.”
Applications for the Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program close on 30 June 2024 or when the funds are fully committed. For more information and to apply, visit www.agric.wa.gov.au/horticulture-netting-infrastructure-program