Records key to cane success

This article was originally published in the Herbert River Express on 08 May 2019

CANEGROWERS Herbert River is celebrating the achievements of its growers after the district recently reached 79 accreditations in Smartcane BMP, the sugarcane industry’s best management practice program.

Herbert River Smartcane BMP Facilitator’s, Maria Battoraro and Raymond Cervellin.

Herbert River Smartcane BMP Facilitator’s, Maria Battoraro and Raymond Cervellin.

In the past month alone, the Herbert River has seen nine new BMP accreditations says Herbert River Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Maria Battoraro and Smartcane BMP officer Raymond Cervellin.

Accreditation in Smartcane BMP involves growers working with a local facilitator to demonstrate their use of on farm practices that protect the environment while improving their productivity.

Record keeping, a core component of Smartcane BMP, was a driving force behind this recent success.

“Record keeping is one of the most important tools for any grower on farm and it is key to achieving accreditation in the program” Ray said. “We were really pleased to find out that the independent BMP auditors were extremely impressed with the quality of our growers’ records.”

While the routine of keeping records can be an initial challenge, many growers report that the time and energy spent in maintaining good records pays off.

“It’s been much easier to track what I’m putting onto the farm, monitor my costs and see where I can continue to reduce my inputs throughout the season,” said CANEGROWERS Herbert River director Chris Bosworth.

“Working record keeping into my routine didn’t takelong and now, I barely have to think about it,” he said.

Herbert River has quickly become one of the largest areas accredited in the state under Smartcane BMP, with almost 20,000 hectares using best management practices.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in the program over the past year as growers continue to improve their records and work through accreditation with us,” said Ms Battoraro.

“By working through the process and becoming accredited in Smartcane BMP, growers are helping to set the record straight and demonstrating that they are doing the right thing by the environment.”

To streamline the process of keeping written records, Ms Battoraro designed templates and record-keeping packs.

“We want to make it as straightforward as possible for growers who sign-up to the program to work record keeping into their routine,” she said.

“That’s why when growers register their interest, they receive blank record keeping templates with completed examples and farm maps of their property.”

“The templates make record keeping a breeze,” said Mr Bosworth. “As a grower, all you need to list is who made the application, the chemicals and rates used, and the dates and blocks of application,” he said.

“It couldn’t be much easier.”

These templates and more will be available for growers in a series of record keeping workshops across Herbert River next week.

“(This) Friday, May 10, CANEGROWERS Herbert River will host two record keeping workshops for growers who are working through BMP and want to learn more about the record keeping requirements,” said Ms Battoraro.

“We’ll cover the record keeping templates in more detail, give some strategies for improving your record keeping, and will have a general discussion about Smartcane BMP,” she said.

To find out more or register your interest, contact the CANEGROWERS Herbert River Office on 4776 5350.