Apple and pear growers still have time to apply for a rebate to purchase and install netting to protect their orchards and increase yields, after the Commonwealth recently boosted and extended its Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Scheme.
An additional $650,000 has been injected into the Western Australian component of the scheme, which had not been fully subscribed, to enable more growers to access matching funds to improve production systems and profitability.
The criteria for the rebate has also been adapted to make it easier for growers who have not yet undertaken works to apply for grants by providing inprinciple approval before works are undertaken.
Growers who previously installed approved netting can also still apply for a rebate for completed works, undertaken after 16 December 2019.
Businesses can apply for a financial co-contribution of up to 50 per cent of the total cost of purchasing and installing permanent protective netting and associated support structures to a maximum of $300,000.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is administering the scheme on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.
DPIRD Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture director Rohan Prince said to date, only about one quarter of the total funds of $2.1 million had been allocated – enabling growers who had not yet applied to do so.
“The scheme provides a unique opportunity for pome fruit growers to upgrade the protective netting infrastructure and invest in the future productivity and profitability of their orchards,” he said.
“Protective netting is a game changer for orchards, shielding fruit from sunburn, wind and hail, as well as birds and other large pests, while improving water use efficiency by as much as 20 per cent – boosting margins and yields.”
For more details about the Commonwealth Government’s Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Scheme and to apply visit the DPIRD website agric.wa.gov.au/horticulture-netting-infrastructure-scheme.
Source: WA DPIRD