Sustainable Farming Practices Linked to Better Farm Outcomes

John Pickering during a recent workshop to gather farming practice data.

John Pickering during a recent workshop to gather farming practice data.

Wet Tropics sugarcane growers recently participated in a new trial to that aimed to connect environmentally sustainable farming practices with positive farming outcomes.

In an innovative first, growers participated in an interactive workshop that utilised the latest technology to gather farming practice data and provide feedback about its impact on productivity and economic outcomes.

Analysis of the data found that sustainable farming practices, such as green cane harvesting and trash blanketing, subsurface fertiliser application, controlled traffic and the use of fallow cropping, were all linked to clear financial benefits.

Cane Changer project leader John Pickering believes events like this one are important to ensure growers can make informed decisions about which practices to implement on their farms.

“These results also lend support to the sugarcane industry’s best practices program, Smartcane BMP, which is based on these sustainable practices,” he said. “The uptake of this program will be hugely important going into the future as growers seek to increase their productivity while protecting the environment.”

Growers participated in the trial as part of their involvement in Project Cane Changer.  The project is a CANEGROWERS initiative, funded by the Department of Environment and Science, that is setting the record straight about sugarcane farming. The project seeks to showcase the positive work that is happening on cane farms in Queensland.

An additional benefit of the trial was that growers were able to get real-time feedback about how their on-farm practices compared with other growers in the district and see where their practices sit in comparison to industry standards.

Project Cane Changer will be running similar events in Tully in the coming months and growers across the district are all invited to come along.

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