South Australian horticulture producers can now apply for grants of up to $300,000 to install new or replace damaged netting, helping those who have been impacted by hailstorms in recent years.

14.6 million in grants for South Australian horticulture growers to purchase and install protective netting.

Netting delivers productivity boosts by protecting crops from extreme weather and pests.

The Horticultural Netting Infrastructure Program will be implemented by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud today joined Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston, Premier Steven Marshall and Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone in announcing the $14.6 million Horticultural Netting Infrastructure Program.

“Many of South Australia’s horticulture crops are not netted simply because the costs of installing the infrastructure is a major barrier for growers,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Now, under this program, eligible growers can access grants of up to $300,000 towards the cost of netting purchase and installation.

“This is going to help protect their valuable crop, putting more money in their hip pockets and local economies.

“Netting is an important tool in resilience and risk management for horticulture producers helping to limit damage from hailstorms and pests whilst also saving water.”

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said producers in both the Riverland and Adelaide Hills had been particularly impacted by hailstorms in recent years.

“South Australia’s horticulturalists are world-leaders when it comes to the food they grow, and this funding will help make much-needed netting more readily available,” Senator Ruston said.

Premier Steven Marshall welcomed this funding, noting that it will support our world-leading food producers.

“This is a major investment in our premium South Australian crops and our fantastic growers who work so hard to produce them and as an added bonus it will also support local jobs during construction,” said Premier Marshall.

“Farmers and growers across the state have had to deal with challenging conditions in the past few years and funding to install netting will help protect their valuable world-class produce.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the program is estimated to net almost 500 hectares which will have a significant impact on the future of horticulture in South Australia.

“Netting is a gamechanger for horticultural producers by providing protection from the elements – sun, wind and hail – not to mention bats and birds,” Minister Whetstone said.

"During drought conditions and high water prices, netting also delivers a dramatic improvement in water efficiency and has shown it can increase yields.

“Fruit harvested under netting is also more likely to meet the high standards demanded by consumers providing a market advantage.”

The scheme will commence from 29 June 2020 and operate until 30 June 2023 or until funds are fully committed.

Eligible growers will be required to at least match the Commonwealth contribution and the grants will be capped at $300,000 (GST exclusive) per farmer. The program will be backdated for eligible producers who have installed netting since December 2019.

Fast Facts:

The agreement with South Australia represents Stage 1 of delivery of the ‘Horticultural Netting Program – trial’ included in the 2019 MYEFO.

The Commonwealth is now seeking agreements with other participating states.

Originally published on the Premier of South Australia’s website: South Australian horticulture’s $14.6m in net benefits