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Communities in Transition 

for Queensland Communities

Indigenous Artist - Roel Wijnants |

Lychees - CSIRO - Science Image - 2309

Lichen & street scene - Quest Media


Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients, University of Queensland 

The Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients (CROWN) was established in late 2017 as part of the University’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, enabled by seed funding from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. The establishment of CROWN was prompted by the push to reduce and divert organic waste from landfill into agriculture and horticulture, the drive to find ways of value adding animal manures and reducing nitrogen losses in the manure supply chain, and the desire to improve resource use efficiency, maintain agricultural productivity, reduce negative environmental impacts and move towards a circular economy for organics.


Utilising organic residues on Moreton Bay Islands for environmental, community and economic gain

Assessing the benefits of urban derived compost and custom blended fertiliser in intensive horticulture

Developing the Circular Economy for Organics on the Sunshine Coast

Next generation fertilizer project endorsed by industry and government, 2018, University of Queensland

A UQ School of Agriculture and Food Sciences PHD student will investigate repurposing organic wastes such as livestock manure, biosolids and cotton gin trash as economically and environmentally efficient alternatives to commercial fertilizers.


Australian Organics Recycling Association Resources


Compost directory 

Composting Products

​Biochar or Compost?


Compost 101

Composting Process

Compost Characteristics

​Guide your Compost Application

Organic growing and the role of compost

Safe compost for fruit and vegetables A guide for the supply of recycled organics to fresh produce growers

Using compost safely A guide for the use of recycled organics in horticulture


Compost and Commercial Vegetable Production

Cost Benefit Trial of Using Compost in Vegetable Growing

Applying your compost – planning and preparation 

Compost and Managing Salinity on the Northern Adelaide Plains

Board acre - 

How can compost benefit my crop?

Compost - adding value for pasture production

Orchards - 

Compost for solving soil problems - Pear and Apple

Compost for orchard establishment - Pear and Apple 

Compost for solving soil problems - Pear and Apple 

Compost in citrus

Developing an IPM system for citrus thrips with production and environmental benefits - Citus

Vineyards - 

Compost for Managing Salinity

Compost for Vineyard Renovation

Compost for Vineyard Establishment

Compost and Nutrients

Compost and Straw Mulches

Organic Matter for Water Saving

What is compost worth? Using compost in Australian vegetable systemsHorticulture Innovation Australia

Compost for Vegetable Growers: What is Compost? , Vic Department of Primary Industries

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Why Use Compost?, Vic Department of Primary Industries

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Getting StartedVic Department of Primary Industries

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Choosing a Supplier, Vic Department of Primary Industries

Compost for Vegetable Growers: Using Compost, Vic Department of Primary Industries

Compost use in agriculture, 2016, Organic Farm Systems 

Case studies

Three Vital Practice Changes at Rob Hinrichsen’s Kalfresh, Qld, Hort Innovation

Six years ago, Rob Hinrichsen and his team at Kalfresh decided to focus on four key practices – controlled traffic, cover crops, soil biology and compost – to improve the soil health across their farms. This case study provides insights into some of the main changes involving controlled traffic, cover crops and compost at the Kalfresh demonstration site in Queensland. 

Milgadara - Putting life back into soil with humus compost, Young, NSW, Soils for Life

Development and application of humus compost, Focus on soil structure, biology and mineral balance, Legume under-sowing of crops, Restored soil health, Increased wool staple strength and lambing percentages of up to 150%, Increased crop yields with reduced inputs; pest and disease free, Established compost business with client base of over 2000

Australian Organics Recycling Association Resources Case studies

  • Vineyards

  • Horticulture 

  • Organic farms

  • Vegetable Production

  • Dairy - Broadacre crops

Chicken Litter As Fertiliser For Broadacre Grain Crops, Grains Research and Development Corporation 

Findings of research projects examining the use of chicken litter as a broadacre crop fertiliser in South Australia. The project aimed to address frequently asked questions posed by broadacre users of chicken litter, and provide practical information on its use. Findings from the projects have been used to develop this guide for grain producers considering chicken litter as an alternative fertiliser.

The effect of custom made composts on the performance of a carrot crop and soil healthHort Innovation

A large-scale compost trial was conducted with Center West Export (CWE) and C-Wise in the Gingin area of Western Australia (WA). The focus was on disease suppression, mainly cavity spot, and maintaining organic carbon and structure in intensively cropped, sandy soils. 

Soil and plant health benefits from using compost: A long-term case study on Baldivis Farms, WA, Hort Innovation

This case study provides a unique long-term grower perspective on using compost on a commercial vegetable farm.



Recycled organic compost a boon to beef grazing pastures, Farm Online National


Murgon producer Jason Reimers uses unused pig waste to create high yielding compost, Queensland Country Life

How one family uses biodynamic farming to rejuvenate weathered Australian soil, ABC News

Legislation amended to allow farmers to legally manufacture organic composts on-farms, The Weekly Times

QFF welcomes farm compost exemption, Queensland Farmers Federation

Application of manure 

Manure management on small properties, WA Government 

Utilisation of manure, compost and effluent in Beef cattle feedlots: waste management and utilisation, Meat and Livestock Association 

Use of Poultry Litter, Manure and Feed in Livestock Systems, Vic Government

Getting the best value from manure nutrients, Pork Australia

Business case for investment in subsoil modification in the high rainfall zone of South west Victoria, Southern Farming Systems

Subsoil manuring is a practice that involves the incorporation of high rates of a fertile organic amendment into the subsoil layer in order to overcome soil constraints to production. A decade of research on hostile soils in the southern high rainfall zone has verified that this technology is capable of significantly and semi-permanently improving soil chemical, physical and biological properties and significantly increasing plant yields and biomass production.

Case studies

Improving soil health using compost manure, Darling Downs, Qld Cotton Info

Cotton grower, John Cameron, has been using composted feedlot manure for many years and believes this organic soil amendment plays an important role in maintaining the long term sustainability and profitability of his farming operation. 

Freckle Farm, Pioneer Valley, N Qld 

Freckle Farm in (265ha) vision is for a sustainable, local food production system which does not rely on artificial inputs, and aids in the recovery of the environment and the local community. They have introduced cattle, pigs and chickens over the past six years to start the process of regenerating the landscape and repairing the soils. All of the animals graze on our natural pastures, spreading manure and incorporating organic matter into the soil.Field Days held throughout the year.

Trials and Demonstrations Update, Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Incorporated

Blending agroforestry, poultry manure and biochar to develop fertiliser and soil carbon for broadacre farms – Living Farm Results Report


Could organic compost help save the Great Barrier Reef?, AgrInnovators 

Chicken manure to boost Wheatbelt crops, Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Incorporated

Application of biosolids


Biosolids Snapshot, 2012, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

General beneficial use approval for Biosolids, 2016, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

This general beneficial use approval (BUA) states the conditions for using biosolids for certain beneficial uses. It supports the vision of Queensland’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy (2014-2024), for Queensland to become a national leader in avoiding unnecessary consumption and waste generation by adopting innovative resource recovery approaches and managing all products and materials as valuable and finite resources.

Case studies


Pasture Productivity using Biosolids on a Light Sandy Soil Mornington Peninsula ,2017, Western Port Catchment Landcare Network

Three-year demonstration trial to assess how the use of biosolids could improve the fertility, soil structure, and hence pasture production on a Mornington Peninsula property with a sandy textured soil.

Demonstrating sustainability of recurrent biosolids applications in the Port Philip and Western Port Region Bald Hill Farm - Pakenham, 2018, Western Port Catchment Landcare Network

Western Port Catchment Landcare Network (WPCLN), in collaboration with South East Water and Cleanaway, set up a long-term demonstration site at Bald Hill Farm (Dryland paddock) near Pakenham (Figure 1) in 2015 to evaluate potential nutrient and trace metal build up in soils due to repeated biosolid application into agricultural lands.

Biosolids in a real farm situation, AWA


Treated sewage product biosolids gives Darling Downs cropping land valuable boost, ABC News


Rocket fuel: Sydney solids the country's golden manure, Sydney Morning Herald 

How human waste is helping Aussie farmers get the best out of their land, ABC News 

Biosolids: Sydney sewage turned organic fertiliser improves NSW drought-hit soil, ABC News

Applications of biofertilisers

Case studies

Clover Estate - Turning sand into fertile soil, Mount Gambier, SA, Soils for Life


Soil treatments were applied with the objective of addressing mineral balance, improve soil biological processes and overall soil fertility specific to paddock soil test results. The key ingredients are residue-digesting fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria.The minerals included a carbon, humic base to stimulate soil biological processes and organic matter building activity. The resulting brew is applied to the paddocks yearly at 50 litres a hectare. In addition to soil building programs, a range of bio-fertilisers, such as foliar and fertigated (application through an irrigation system) mineral, microbial, kelp, fish, humic and fulvic fertilisers have been applied over the past 15 years. Leaf tests are taken to identify lacking nutrition, enabling application of nutrients to address imbalance in plants.

Stock output increased by 33%​, 25% reduction in irrigation used per animal weight produced, Infertile sand converted into fertile dark soils showing organic matter down to 60cm. 

Sugar cane biofertilizer transitional program 

Incremental synthetic nitrogen reduction: 140 unitsa to 70 units: Yields - 70 (2014) to 90 t/Ha (2016)  - all nutrients manufactured and applied on farm. 

Citrus production using mashums method 

The 'MasHumus method empowers farmers by teaching them how to make and use their own inputs e.g. phosphito - A water-soluble form of phosphorus that is suitable for plant intake, Biofertiliser - A microbial brew made from locally sourced materials, which fertilises plants with a full range of biologically active minerals, Soluble lime sulphur - A plant and soil friendly application for preventing fungal infections and pest infestations, Microbes - Beneficial organisms made on-farm for increased plant nutrition and protection., Chromatography - A cheap (less than $3 per test) and easy way to make a qualitative assessment of soil, compost, crop or biofertiliser.


Macadamia nut industry developing harvest case studies to help lift productivity, ABC News

North Queensland farmers brew their own biofertiliser, NQ Dry Tropics



Biochar is charcoal used as a soil amendment made from biomass via pyrolysis

The Australia New Zealand Biochar Conference 2017 Conference Proceedings, 2017 

The papers and summaries in this proceedings benchmark the current state of play of the Australia New Zealand biochar industry in 2017 from the perspective of scientists, manufacturers, marketers and end users.

Biochar or Compost? Australian Organics Recycling Association

Both biochar and compost have high contents of stable carbon components and can be incorporated into the soil to improve soil health. However, there are some major differences between the two products as biochar and compost are made in different ways and in many cases have different effects on the soil when incorporated.

Case studies

Chandala Poultry – Power from poultry waste Energy Farmers Australia

Chandala Poultry from Gingin, Western Australia is designing a system that will recover the energy from the chicken litter (manure and bedding) that the farm produces and use it to meet the farms onsite requirements (Biochar) 

Rainbow Bee Eater converts wheat straw to gas fuel, Biomas Producer

New technology that converts wheat straw and other agricultural residues to high quality gas and biochar through the process of pyrolysis (heating with low oxygen levels).

Trials and Demonstrations Update, Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Incorporated

Blending agroforestry, poultry manure and biochar to develop fertiliser and soil carbon for broadacre farms – Living Farm Results Report

Cover crops & polyculture cropping

Growing of beneficial plants during these times of rest or in combination with the primary crop rather than planting the same monocrop in one location year after year. 



Growers share their cover cropping strategies, CottonInfo

In 2018, the CottonInfo REOs went on farm with cotton growers across their valleys to investigate how they include cover crops in their farming systems, and the benefits they get from doing so.

Koo Wee Rup Demonstration Site: Practice Change, Vic, Hort Innovation


This case study provides an overview and lessons learnt from trialling different cover crops at the demonstration site in Cora Lynn, Victoria.

Mt Barker Demonstration Site: Practice Change, SA, Hort Innovation

This case study presents insights and lessons from trialling different cover crops and IPM at the Eastbrook Vegetable Farms demonstration site in Mt Barker in South Australia. 

Crop rotation

Smart rotations: farming systems for the future,  Ted Wolfe and Peter Cregan, Charles Sturt University 

A brief history of research on crop and pasture rotations, an outline of the potential benefits from pasture-crop and crop-crop combinations, a consideration of both pasture leys and crop sequences, an assessment of on-farm practices in relation to scientific research findings, and comments on the strategic and tactical options for the future.

Case studies


Inveraray Downs - Higher quality food through regenerated soils and reduced inputsSpring Ridge, NSW

Changing crop rotation to better support soil biology, Changing from inorganic to organic fertilisers, Application of compost fertiliser to increase soil organic matter, Integrating grazing with cropping, Regeneration of soil and nutrient dynamics, Improved crop quality, increased weight and more even yields across the property, Reduced input costs, Additional revenue from compost sale and cattle agistment. 


Crop rotation – a vital component of organic farming, Permaculture Research Institute 

Cover crops
Crop rotation
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