Horticulturalists across South Australia are now able to apply for grants of up to $300,000 to install new or replace damaged produce netting.
The $14.6 million Horticultural Netting Infrastructure Program will help farmers protect crops from extreme weather and pests, and forms another part of SA's post-virus economic recovery.
Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said the program will be essential to help protect the state's world-famous produce.
"We have one of the best agricultural sectors in the world, some would say the best," she said.
"By supporting our farmers and horticulturalists the Commonwealth is very hopeful we will be able to drive our economy forward as restrictions lift and and as we are able to keep exporting our products."
The scheme will commence from 29 June 2020 and operate until 30 June 2023, or until funds are fully committed, according to state government.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the program is estimated to net almost 500 hectares which will have a significant impact on the future of horticulture in South Australia.
"Netting is a gamechanger for horticultural producers by providing protection from the elements - sun, wind and hail - not to mention bats and birds," he said.
"During drought conditions and high water prices, netting also delivers a dramatic improvement in water efficiency and has shown it can increase yields.
The program will be backdated for eligible producers who have installed netting since December 2019.
Australian Associated Press