The Hort360 program supports commercial horticulture growers by providing a 360 degree view of a farm’s business operations through a risk assessment tool. This approach helps farmers identify risks and unnecessary farm expenses in addition to potential business opportunities. Hort360 growers can access technical support, on-farm training and professional networks. The program, which has 108 water quality related modules and sub-modules, is jointly funded by the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program and the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.

A mid-term evaluation conducted in 2019 identified that the program is developing momentum and achieving significant practice change outcomes:

  • almost two thirds of growers interviewed said that they had made changes on their farm because of working through the Hort360 modules (e.g. water/irrigation/run-off management, fertiliser management, herbicide management)
  • over 70 horticulture businesses completed one or more of the modules to the end of September 2019 and half of the growers interviewed attended an extension activity.

The program is also reporting social outcomes with some growers indicating that their main motivations for being involved were related to positive financial and productivity outcomes and time savings. A notable number of these outcomes state that positive environmental outcomes (water quality in particular) are a motivator, particularly for those in the Burnett Mary region. There are many case studies and videos highlighting the positive benefits growers have received from embracing Hort360. In addition, the program delivery team has noticed an improved understanding of farm management practices and how these relate to off-farm impacts.

For more information, visit the Hort360 website.