Project Information

Johnstone Nitrogen Use Efficiency Project #3

Nitrogen Use Efficiency

Adrian Darveniza, a fourth-generation sugarcane grower, has been running his South Johnstone farm for the past decade with his wife and three sons. Located in the Cassowary Coast Region of Queensland, the property covers 266 hectares, of which 235 hectares are dedicated to sugarcane.

Sugarcane farming requires careful nutrient management and synthetic nitrogen-rich fertilisers often aid crop growth. Keenly interested in reducing nitrogen usage, Adrian partnered with GreenCollar on a Reef Credits project in 2021.

As part of project requirements, Adrian trialled a reduction in fertiliser use and found that it did not cause a loss in production. Changes to established farming practices carry inherent risk and as Adrian explains, “you don’t want to reduce your production of cane, so seeing that our changes in fertiliser usage weren’t impacting production was good news.”

In addition to reducing fertiliser use, Adrian changed the row spacing of sugarcane and introduced crop rotation.

These changes are paying dividends, as Adrian has been able to reduce overheads, maintain productivity and gain supplemental income from the Reef Credit project. He has also seen an improvement to soil quality and long-term health. Switching crops helps break pest cycles and allows Adrian to increase time between cane replanting, decreasing both overheads and soil disturbance. “Fallowing means that we can replant every six to seven years instead of the usual cycle of every four to five years,” Adrian says. “That means less time in the tractor, less fuel being used, less soil runoff, and less carbon released from the soil.”

Key Benefits

Improved soil health and maintained productivity
Reduced Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) levels leaving the property and entering waterways and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef
Reduced costs from synthetic fertilisers
Improved business sustainability

UN Sustainable
Development Goals



Methodology for Accounting Reduction in Nutrient Run-Off Through Managed Fertiliser Application Version 1.1

Registered ID

Date registered

June 2021

Project area

235 ha


South Johnstone, QLD


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