It's All Hands on Deck for Tully Growers

Growers taking part in a data collection workshop about their farming practices.

Growers taking part in a data collection workshop about their farming practices.

 

This article was originally published in the Cassowary Coast Independent on 7 DECEMBER 2017.

 

Tully sugarcane growers were recently invited to take part in an innovative new trial aimed at streamlining farming practice data collection and feedback in the sugarcane industry.

Growers participated in an interactive session at the CANEGROWERS Tully office that utilised the latest technology to gather data about farming practices. Growers were able to get real-time feedback about how their on-farm practices compared with other growers in the district and discuss the short-term and long-term financial and environment implications.

Alex Lindsay, an Extension Officer with the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP), was a facilitator on the night.

“This was the first time that growers could easily see where their practices sat in comparison to other growers and to the industry standards and, I am glad to say, be pleasantly surprised,” Alex said.

“The majority of Tully growers were reporting using practices that were in-line with, or above, industry-approved standards.”

“The benefit of this form of data collection is that growers can see, anonymously, how other growers farm and they have the opportunity to discuss the data and learn from one another.”

Smartcane BMP facilitator Nick Stipis assisted in designing and facilitating the session and said that data collected on the night also helped growers work towards their accreditation in Smartcane BMP, the Queensland sugarcane industry’s best practice program.

“Growers are regularly asked to report this information about their farming practices across a number of different programs running in the industry. This trial has looked at streamlining the process for growers,” Nick said.

“By combining and linking a number of these questions from programs such as Smartcane BMP and Paddock2Reef we hope to make it easier for growers to provide an accurate picture of their practices and set the record straight for reporting on the district’s impact on water quality.”

“We will continue hosting these sessions over the coming months and we would like to extend an invitation to all Tully growers to get involved and help build a complete picture of the industry in Tully.”

This workshop was hosted by Project Cane Changer, a CANEGROWERS initiative that works with farmers to build recognition for their on-going efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

To get involved please contact your local CANEGROWERS office or head to canechanger.com for more information.