Records are the key to Tully success

Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis, explaining the process growers go through to reach accreditation in the program.

Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis, explaining the process growers go through to reach accreditation in the program.

Tully sugarcane growers have never backed away from change. In recent years, growers have jumped on board with new projects, initiatives, and trials that offer the potential to improve their productivity and protect their environment.

One example is the district’s accreditations in Smartcane BMP, the sugarcane industry’s best management practice program. Since 2016, Tully has seen a whopping 1420% increase in Smartcane BMP accreditations.

Growers involved in the program work closely with a local facilitator to demonstrate their adoption of farming practices which benefit both their on-farm productivity and the environment.

Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis, says the record-keeping of local growers has been a driving force behind the district’s success.

“We’ve been really impressed with the recent interest growers have shown in aligning their record-keeping with Smartcane BMP, which has played a key role in the accreditation rates we’ve seen in the district,” he said.

“What we’ve seen in the past is that many growers are already at or above the program’s standards in terms of their on-farm practices,” he said. “However, many have encountered barriers with the record-keeping requirements of Smartcane BMP.”

To counteract this, the CANEGROWERS Tully office has developed a number of record-keeping templates to streamline the process for growers.

Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis, describing the record-keeping templates available through the CANEGROWERS Tully Office.

Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis, describing the record-keeping templates available through the CANEGROWERS Tully Office.

“These templates are the minimum you need to include while still being compliant with all of the requirements under Smartcane BMP,” said Nick Stipis.

“With spraying records, all you need to do is note the chemical and mix, the date, location of the farm and block number, the time sprayed, and weather conditions.”

According to CANEGROWERS Tully Manager, Peter Lucy, the momentum seen in the region is set to continue.

”We’ve seen a real interest in record-keeping and BMP as some of the tools growers can use to set the record straight and demonstrate that they are doing the right thing,” he said.

Also in attendance at recent record-keeping workshops were members of Project Cane Changer, who presented strategies for working the task into the growers’ routine.

Cane Changer Team Member, Katri Haanterä, providing tips and tricks to help growers work record-keeping into their routine.

Cane Changer Team Member, Katri Haanterä, providing tips and tricks to help growers work record-keeping into their routine.

“We know that the process of record-keeping can sometimes be an initial challenge for growers who are interested in becoming accredited in Smartcane BMP,” said Cane Changer Project Member, Sam Moore.

“What we are hoping to do with these sessions is to make it as easy as possible for growers to form a habit with record-keeping and work the practice into their routine.”

A CANEGROWERS initiative, Project Cane Changer aims to ‘Set the Record Straight’ about the positive on-farm changes taking place throughout the industry while working with growers to ensure an even brighter future for their industry.

“These tips and tricks are really beneficial to get you in the mindset of wanting to keep records and anticipating obstacles which may prevent you from doing it,” said Nick Stipis.

If you’re interested in finding out more about record-keeping templates, Smartcane BMP, or future workshops, you can contact the CANEGROWERS Tully Office on (07) 4068 4900.