Applications for the Ministry of Agriculture's sustainable farming fund were oversubscribed by four times the amount available.
Total funding available since last year is down by 23%.
Fund manager Denis Packer says excess applications totalled $38 million.
Some $9 million has been allocated by the fund which is a fall from $11.75 million last year.
Projects are aimed at improving the sustainability of primary industries.
As well as five projects that address water allocation and management, there is funding for some focused on adapting to and mitigating climate change, improving farm management practices, animal welfare and pest management.
Other successful projects include managing the tomato/potato psyllid pest and measuring animal welfare in pigs by assessing the animals rather than the facilities that house them.