Organics market development grants

Program snapshot

Category: Organics Infrastructure Fund

Amounts: Total of $735,000

Eligible bodies: Local councils, business, government institutions, not-for-profit organisations, and industry associations. Businesses that process recycled organics are not individually eligible.

Contact: 02 9995 6874, 02 9995 6895 or

Status: This program is now closed. 

Managed by: NSW Environment Protection Authority

Aim of the grants

These grants support market development activities that will improve the demand for compost processed from source separated organics by increasing knowledge and awareness, improving product quality and demonstrating its benefits in new and innovative markets.


Round 3 closed at 4pm on 22 November 2018. No additional rounds are planned at this stage.

For any enquiries, contact

See Past Recipients Round 3 - project summaries below for the latest grant recipients.

Past recipients

Agnov8 Pty Ltd 
Compost and Soil Water 

This project will increase the awareness of the benefits of compost for soil-water management among vegetable farmers in the Sydney region. Field days will be centered around promoting and extending the outcomes of the on-farm demonstration showcasing state of the art soil monitoring that will record the impact of compost on soil water. This builds on previous EPA investments in this topic and region and seeks to expand the use of composts in vegetable production in the Sydney Basin.

Applied Horticultural Research
Recycled organics as commercial mushroom casing soil

The Australian mushroom industry produces 70,000 tonnes of mushroom, requiring 70,000 tonnes of compost and 25,000 tonnes of ‘casing soil’ each year. One third of that production is in NSW, mainly Sydney. Composted recycled organics is a proven substitute for imported European peat that is currently used for casing. Peat is a non-renewable resource, expensive to transport, and costs $300 per tonne. The project team would demonstrate the technical and economy viability of using composted organics as a casing soil in the ‘MLMRU’ mushroom research unit in Sydney, then communicate the benefits and how-to information effectively to the NSW mushroom industry.

The Centre for Organic Research and Education Inc. (CORE)
Creating markets for recycled organics products in the stormwater sector

Use of source separated recycled organics in stormwater biofiltration products is considered a large untapped market in urban and regional NSW. Implementing successful, robust demonstration projects will create new market demand from the project partnerships established with market leading local government and engineering consultants who specify biofiltration systems. Public, high profile field demonstrations of innovative organic filter media technology will use media formulations based on independent scientific studies and be made using quality, fit-for-purpose accredited materials.

Edge Environment
Driving demand of recycled organics (compost products) in the property and infrastructure sectors through integration in ratings tools and controlled case studies

This project will aim to drive demand for compost products in two distinct but related markets: 1) Property development (commercial, retail, residential) 2) Infrastructure development. This will consist of two key streams of work, each addressing a different objective: i) Incentivise use of compost products in key built environment ratings tools and through large government led procurement practices ii) Demonstrate the business-case through the development of case studies in the property and infrastructure sectors.

MRA Consulting Group
Compost makes great bedding

This project uses farm-based learning to increase understanding of and experience in the novel use of recycled organics as bedding and arena surfacing in the Hunter region. Project outcomes include the increased use of recycled organics in the horse industry and increased awareness of the availability of quality recycled organics.

The Constructive Farming Co-operative Limited
The Compost Buddy

The Compost Buddy project is an internet decision support tool that enables farmers and agricultural advisors to independently assess the usefulness of applying Compost to their specific local needs. There is a need for an easy to access, independent and reliable way for landholders and others considering using Compost as a soil amendment to be able to make informed choices that include all the many factors that impact on its successful use. Compost Buddy will act as the trusted advisor to people contemplating applications of Compost in the agricultural sector. It will provide the independent evaluation of the desirability of Compost in locally relevant situations leading to a higher probability of successful applications.

Round 2 awarded $2,266,369 to 13 projects.

Expanding and developing new turf markets for compost

With an estimated 55% of sporting fields in NSW in poor condition, this project will provide advice to soccer clubs with Asia Cup funds to amend fields so they become compost demonstration sites. It will include the development of videos demonstrating compost benefits and highlighting the advantages over synthetic turf. The project will also involve training soccer and cricket associations on compost amendment of fields and home lawns and compost benefits to turf farmers.

Applied Horticultural Research
Demonstrating the benefits of recycled organics to vegetable growers

This project will increase the size of the market for NSW recycled organics by demonstrating the commercial scale use of recycled organics compost to the vegetable industry on commercial vegetable farms in NSW. It will demonstrate the soil health, productivity and economic benefits of composted organics to vegetable producers by leveraging the successful vegetable industry-funded Soil Wealth project. The project partners with Australian Native Landscapes and commercial vegetable growers in NSW and builds on previous NSW EPA outputs.

Australian Soil Management (ASM) Pty Ltd
Value proposition to overcome compost costs as a barrier to market development for broad-acre cropping and grazing in the Riverina region of NSW

ASM will collaborate with the Riverina Coop in Wagga Wagga to select five farmer members representative of key grazing and cropping systems in the Riverina. A compost-based management strategy based on a benefit-cost analysis for improving soil productivity will be completed for each enterprise type. The agronomy team from Riverina Coop will provide advice on project design and the analysis of results for each farm. Riverina Coop will disseminate the results to their 12,000 members. Ardane Management & Marketing Pty Ltd will be engaged to develop and deliver a Communication Plan.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services
Establishing a long term demonstration of compost use in agricultural and horticultural production systems

Through its previous Waste Less Recycle More grant project (NextGen), Greater Sydney Local Land Services showed the benefits of using compost in vegetable production systems at their Demonstration Farm. This project will apply the knowledge gained and expand on demonstrations and set up a permanent display of compost use in various agricultural and horticultural production systems at the new River Farm located in the Richmond Lowlands. The project also includes preparing extension material to communicate the outcomes of the previous project and demonstrate (on ground) the benefits of using compost in a practical and economic way.

KM & A Holdings Pty Ltd
Growing with Organics

Experience has shown that farmers can grow better with organics, but few know what to ask for or how to use it, leading to unpredictable and uninspiring results. This project is about showing farmers how to grow with organics in the Hunter Valley and neighbouring regions. Tailored, high agronomic value, quality controlled, blended recycled organics products will be applied to soils to achieve specific outcomes in agricultural production systems. Selected applications will be monitored and the outcomes communicated to farmers and other interested parties through a variety of media and events.

MRA Consulting Group
Compost for Carbon

This project will increase demand for recycled organics by educating farmers on the Emissions Reduction Fund using the ‘Measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems’ method. The project will focus on developing and disseminating educational resources outlining the benefits of participating in the ERF, which provides a financial incentive to farmers seeking to employ the use of compost. This project provides a unique opportunity to link the federal government’s Carbon Farming Initiative and NSW government’s Waste Less Recycle More Initiative, by increasing both greenhouse gas abatement and the uptake of recycled organics.

MRA Consulting Group
Freshcare Compliant Compost Expansion program

This project builds on the successful’ Freshcare Food Safety Compliant Compost’ project from Round 1 of the WLRM Organics Market Development Grants. The current project will communicate and enforce the amended requirements of the Freshcare Code of Practice pertaining to compost applied to fruit and vegetables, increasing demand for compliant recycled organics compost. The target stakeholders will be trainers and auditors of the Freshcare Code of Practice, fruit and vegetable growers, and compost producers.

MRA Consulting Group
Compost goes down the tube

This project will raise awareness of pelletised compost and demonstrate uses and benefits to grain producers. It will demonstrate the value of pelletised products for overcoming the economic barriers to uptake of surface applied composts, including incorporating pelletised compost into the seeding mechanism.

North Coast Local Land Services
Expanding the market for source separated recycled organics material for improving soil health for beef grazing on the North Coast of NSW.

North Coast Local Land Services and Clarence Landcare Inc will target the beef grazing sector to test local recycled organics products under North Coast conditions and grazing regimes. Technical analysis and field demonstrations will provide opportunities for feedback to industry product developers about quality and consistency. Knowledge and awareness will be increased through communication of results via media, factsheets and engagement actions. A comprehensive understanding of the North Coast beef industry and new market based data at a regional scale will be used to identify new opportunities and market niches. Results will be leveraged for future beef gazing program development and delivery.

Peak Water Consulting
Overcoming the barriers that prevent compost being used in sports fields

This project aims to increase the use of compost in urban amenity markets, particularly sports fields.  The focus of the project is breaking down the fears and the financial barriers that prevent sports field managers and planners using compost on sports fields. The project will expand the use of compost on sporting fields by dispelling myths about compost on sports fields. It will identify opportunities and innovative techniques for funding compost use in sports field soil amendment and construction and include an economic comparison of different approaches to rebuilding fields to demonstrate the economic benefits of using compost.

The Constructive Farming Co-operative Limited
Compost for Conservation Cropping

This project will encourage the use of compost as a new fertility option in broadacre agriculture.   Demonstration sites across 10 farms in five Local Government Areas (LGAs) will show how recycled organics can be used effectively to boost whole farm performance in local conditions.  Landholders will join in the project using group and individual learning strategies to maximise the interest and involvement in the potential uses of source separated Recycled Organics (SSRO) products. As Central West LGAs begin to produce more source separated organics from the kerbside collections, this project will help to establish local demand and complete the local nutrient loop between production and consumption.

The Hills Bark Blower
Compost Blankets for erosion control and rehabilitation on Mining Sites in NSW

Mining Sites are required to thoroughly regenerate areas that have been damaged by their activities. The Hills Bark Blower is teaming up with the Hunter Coal and Environment Group, a couple of mine sites, and a communications/marketing company, to advance the uptake of compost blankets within the Mining space so that applying the right compost becomes part of the solution to erosion control and regeneration. Compost Blanket as a marketplace product uses specified, source separated compost to create a humus layer that binds together and adheres to the surface of eroded and denuded sites. Compost blankets are injected with seeds, preferably endemic to the local environment, to bring the surrounds back to how it was before any disturbance.

The Good Dirt…for Small Farms

Lack of awareness and confusion about compost products are major barriers to its use. Through engagement in agricultural field days, in two distinct regions, these issues will be addressed. This project will target the small area farmer, the spectrum of composts (and associated terminology) and its agronomic benefit will be clearly articulated and promoted. Participants will be encouraged to use compost through an incentive scheme and will connect this market with suppliers. Outcomes of use will be highlighted, furthering awareness. the Good Dirt…for Small Farms will educate and survey over time to measure increasing awareness levels and use of compost products.


Round 1 awarded $2,547,497 to 19 projects.

Stream 1: Product Quality

CORE (Centre for Organic Research and Education)
Stormwater Specification

This project will develop technical standards for bio filtration media to create a more competitive position for Recycled Organic products in the growing and lucrative stormwater management market.

MRA Consulting
Documenting on-farm commercial benefits of recycled organics

This project will take documented agronomic benefits of recycled organics and quantify the tangible financial benefits (productivity returns) arising from these. This will enable farmers to make rational decisions about the financial benefits of recycled organics in their production systems in comparison to the cost of synthetic fertilisers.

Australian Soil Management (ASM)
Transition to Compost

This project will work with five farms from the Stream 2 Pathways to develop new markets project, completing the transition phase from existing to new practices using compost.

RMCG Consulting
Product certification scheme for composts in agriculture

This project will test the opportunity for a compost product quality assurance and certification scheme to be adopted in NSW. It builds on a previous quality assurance scheme for composts in agriculture developed for Sustainability Victoria in 2016.

RMCG Consulting
Cost benefits analysis tool

There is limited data on the quantitative benefits of recycled organics with respect to opportunity costs and savings.  This project will address this through the development of a ready reckoner decision support tool of the quantitative benefits of recycled organics in commercial agriculture in NSW.

Australian Soil Management
Develop an RO Specification for control of African lovegrass in the Cooma Monaro

African lovegrass (ALG) is a hardy, drought tolerant perennial grass species, regarded as a weed in the Cooma – Monaro Shire of NSW, costing the region an estimated $3 million a year. Existing control measures include herbicides, heavy grazing, mowing and burning, which are shown to limit the spread of the weed, have not been effective once the weed becomes established. This project builds on a trial which is showing strong potential for high-grade compost to control ALG, if combined with preferred management practices. It involves the development of a Recycled Organics Product Specification for ALG control, supporting the local market for recycled organics, with potential across the rest of NSW.

Australian Organics Recycling Association
Review and revision of AS4419 – Soils for landscape and garden use

This funding will support national work to update AS4419 – Soils for Landscaping and Garden Use Standard, originally published in 1978 and revised in 2003. Since that time, the technology, manufacture and use of soils for landscaping and garden use has advanced considerably, with many new products using recycled organics. This project, also supported with funding from the Victorian and South Australian governments, will result in a reviewed Standard being published which will provide specifications, including the use of recycled organics, for all products which are fit for purpose as Soils for Landscaping and Garden Use.

Australian Organics Recycling Association
Compost Benefits Calculator (Stage 2)

The AORA Compost Benefits Calculator will be upgraded to be accessible on multiple mobile platforms to support the recycled organics industry’s engagement with customers. The Compost Benefits Calculator enables product suppliers to explain to customers the agronomic benefits of composted products, compared to existing (or intended) production inputs.  It acts as a knowledge bridge between researchers, the compost industry and farmers to ultimately increase the agricultural market for recycled organics.

AgEnviro Solutions Pty Ltd
AgEnviro Specification Project

Building on many years’ experience working with sports turf managers to optimise pitch quality, this project will develop a specification for the application of compost on sporting fields to give confidence to the quality of supply. The specification will apply for compost applied as topdressing, compost that is incorporated and compost as a component of a topdress or underlay mix. It paves the way for increased uptake of compost within a very large market, with an estimated 2620 hectares of council managed sporting fields in the greater Sydney area alone potentially utilising up to 83,800 cubic metres of compost product a year.

MRA Consulting Group
Freshcare Food Safety Compliant Compost

This project has overcome a major barrier for the use of recycled organics in horticulture by addressing restrictions on its use within the Freshcare code of practice. Freshcare is the voluntary quality assurance code of practice for the fresh vegetable industry and is used as the basis on which the major supermarket chains develop their own Approved Supplier compliance systems. This project brought key stakeholders together in a working group to identify the barriers, demonstrate how recycled organics are safe and effective inputs, and recommend changes to the code. A set of guidelines on producing recycled organics to meet code requirements for the recycled organics industry has been developed and are now available.

MRA Consulting Group
Recycled Organics Specifications for Vegetable and Fruit Production

This project involves researching and revising two existing product specifications to update the characteristics for recycled organics for use in the vegetable and orchard industries. The revised specifications will be promoted to the recycling processing industry and horticulture sectors to encourage the manufacture and application of products tailored for use in vegetable and fruit production .

Stream 2: Market Development

AgEnviro Solutions Pty Ltd
Expanding sports field markets for the use of compost

This project will showcase how compost can improve the turf performance on 150 of NSW worst performing playing fields, identified by the NSW Football Association. Compost will be applied to amend and improve turf performance, with potentially three sports fields and one racecourse as demonstration sites to show opportunities for major improvements in condition through compost use. The projects also involves developing technical advice and procedures for sporting field managers to maximise turf condition through using recycled organics.

This project is now complete. View the case study (PDF 552KB)

Australian Soil Management (ASM)
Pathways to develop new markets and increase demand for compost

This project will address the historic depletion of organic matter in agricultural soils in three regions of NSW, the Central West, Riverina and Capital. It involves the development of customised plans for farmers engaged in grazing and broad acre cropping that will use compost as a key component to improve soil quality for increased productivity and profit. It will also connect farmers with opportunities to tap into the Federal Government's Carbon Abatement auctions where they can be reimbursed for input costs by capturing more carbon through compost use.

Compost Rocks!

Dirtgirl and scrapboy will establish a Compost Academy to encourage the householder to find multiple uses for compost. The four pillars of the Academy are: Education, Demonstration, Participation and Celebration. The project will include the development of a toolkit for all local councils in NSW to distribute free through their environmental and sustainability education programs, a campaign plan to accompany the toolkit for councils' use and the online 'Compost Rocks! Compost Academy', a 12-month dirtgirlworld-led social media campaign.

The Hills Bark Blower
Specifying compost blanket use on new and existing NSW roadways

The Hills Bark Blower, Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) and Penelope's Garden will be building on excellent research, coupled with site based learning, to consolidate the use of Compost Blankets as a part of everyday practice on sites around NSW. The effectiveness of Compost Blankets as an erosion control solution and rehabilitation tool on denuded construction sites has been proven. This project will train RMS operatives to use the products.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services
Next Gen Compost

This project aims to 'unlock' the potential for recycled organics by directly addressing the current mismatch between product supply and end-user preferences and perceptions. Multiple on-farm demonstrations will promote the sustainable use of soils through the addition of compost with a nutrient profile tailored to individual sites. The quality of produce, handling, application, water efficiencies and improved management of plant pathogens will be demonstrated. In parallel, surveys and other social engagement, led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (UTS), will reveal a suite of technical, financial, knowledge-based and social barriers and opportunities to the uptake of compost in horticulture to generate on-going and increasing demand for recycled organic products. This research will then inform an intensive communication, extension and outreach program by NSW Farmers.

MRA Consulting Group
Organics on the Farm - Central West project

The Organics on the Farm - Central West project aims to normalise the supply chain for recycled organics to a massive potential market. A multi-pronged approach will leverage existing research showing compost benefits on soils in the region to educate rural advisors, engage farmers and integrate recycled organics into the existing procurement chain. It is estimated to boost the market for recycled organics in the region by at least 14,000 tonnes.

MRA Consulting Group
Recycled Organics Professional Development for Rural Advisors

This project will tap into existing training provided to rural advisors to integrate recycled organics into their sales knowledge. Professional development training will be developed and delivered through Fertcare, a voluntary training and accreditation program for the fertiliser industry. The project will see Recycled Organics competencies added to the Fertcare Accredited Advisor (FAA) component of the program and business agreements being established between recycled organics producers and rural agents to normalise the purchasing of recycled organics within the broad-acre agriculture sector.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
Compost in banana and blueberry growing

This project will develop sustainable markets for recycled organic compost and mulch in northern NSW broad acre horticulture by establishing interactive demonstration sites trialling different application techniques demonstrating to growers the multiple benefits of recycled organics. Extension and marketing activities will include field walks, field days and workshops, social media, DPI Prime Facts, journal and media articles and a final project report. A simple cost /benefit analysis will be included in the Prime Fact so growers and advisers will be able to make informed decisions about the profitable use of compost in horticulture, providing the NSW compost industry with a legacy of credible data, packaged for ongoing marketing use.

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