Fruit farmers across South Australia will soon be able to access up to $14.6 million to install new or replace damaged netting.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the majority of orchards were not netted and despite the clear benefits to protected horticulture the up-front costs of installing the infrastructure was a major barrier for growers.

“Netting delivers clear productivity boosts to growers by protecting crops from extreme weather and pests,” Mr Pasin said.

“Netting increases protection from sunburn, wind and hail—not to mention the birds,” Mr Pasin said.

“Perhaps more importantly during the current drought and high water prices, netting delivers a dramatic improvement in water efficiency.

“Existing netting shows a reduction of water requirements by around 20 per cent and can increase yields at the same time,” Mr Pasin said.

“It’s a vital investment in Our Government’s work to grow the value of horticulture production and lift the value of agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.”

“There is a substantial investment for growers and we are determined to improve resilience and water efficiency by supporting growers in this investment because we know it will pay dividends for the industry,” Mr Pasin said.

The scheme will commence in 2020 and operate until 31 December 2021 or until funds are fully committed. Eligible growers will be required to at least match the Commonwealth contribution and the trial program will be capped at $300,000 (GST exclusive) per grower.

Delivery arrangements are being finalised and further details will be available on the department’s website shortly.

Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8531 2466