What is the Horticultural Netting Program?
The Horticultural Netting Program is a grant opportunity to help eligible apple and pear producers for purchase and installation of new netting over established apple and pear orchards (a ‘project’).
The first round of the Horticultural Netting Program will operate to 31 December 2022 and may be extended where subsequent rounds are required.
The Commonwealth Government has provided $4 million for the Program and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) has agreed to implement the Program on their behalf.
Research indicates that netting delivers productivity benefits by protecting crops from extreme weather and predators and increasing water use efficiency. Netting helps producers to maintain fruit quality, ensure continuity of supply and manage production risks.
The Horticultural Netting Program consists of up to $4 million in grant funding, which will be made available to eligible apple and pear producers operating in Victoria. It will provide for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs to commercially install or purchase new horticultural netting (fixed and demountable), to a maximum of $150,000 (ex GST).
Funding will be provided for the costs for:
- Self-installing; to purchase new horticultural netting and associated support structures required for installation; or
- Installation by an independent commercial third-party provider whose regular business includes installation of agricultural netting (‘Third Party Installation’): to supply and install new horticultural netting and associated support structures required for installation.
Netting must be installed in the State of Victoria for the purpose of increasing commercial apple and pear orchard productivity, such as by decreasing water use, the impact of adverse weather events or animal predation.
Netting must have a mesh size no larger than 30 mm and be purchased and installed between 16 December 2019 and 31 December 2022.
The land on which the netting infrastructure has been/will be installed must have been utilised for commercial apple or pear cropping prior to 16 December 2019.
Projects are to commence within six months of approval, with funds fully acquitted within 12 months of commencement.
Applications for Third-Party Installation must include written quotes or cost estimates from the preferred third-party supplier.
Applicants must attest that the installed or proposed netting and associated support structures comply with all relevant planning and building regulations, occupational health and safety and other regulations within their area.
Projects should demonstrate a commitment to Victorian or regional employment and purchasing wherever possible.
Eligible applicants must:
- Operate a primary production business (as defined in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997)
- Be property owners, share farmers or lease holders for the land parcel proposed for the project
- Operate a commercial apple and/or pear orchard in Victoria
- Operate as a sole trader, partnership, trust or private company
- Hold an Australian business number (ABN)
- Earn more than 50 per cent of their gross income from their primary production business under normal seasonal circumstances
- Have complied with the terms and conditions of any previous Victorian Government funding, grant or concessional loan they have received
- Have not withdrawn from a previous offer made under this Program.
Applications close 04 June 2021.
Victorian apple and pear growers can now apply for grants of up to $150,000 for netting to protect their fruit from hail and sun damage, providing a major boost to crop yield.
The $4 million Horticultural Netting Program, which is being delivered by the Andrews Labor Government on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, will provide funding for apple and pear growers to purchase and install new netting over established orchards.
The program will enable growers to apply for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs to commercially install or purchase new horticulture netting, which will deliver significant benefits to growers and the industry.
Victoria produces close to 50 per cent of Australia’s apples and 90 per cent of pears, making a significant contribution to the industry’s national production value of more than $710 million.
Besides protecting produce from environmental damage such as hail and sunburn, horticultural netting helps to keep out some pest animals and can reduce orchard water use by up to 20 per cent. An increase in fruit quality, coupled with reduced adverse weather and animal damage means more dollars in fruit growers’ pockets.
Victorian apple and pear growers can apply for Horticultural Netting Program grants until 4 June 2021.