Record-keeping vital tool for Wet Tropics growers

This article was originally published in the Australian Canegrower Magazine on 1 July 2019


The sugarcane industry has 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.

These qualities were recently on display as growers and their families from across the Wet Tropics Region came together in Cairns, Tully and the Herbert River to learn how to keep records in line with the industry’s Smartcane BMP program.

“Record keeping is a valuable tool - not only does it provide evidence that you are doing the right thing by the environment on your farm, but it is great information for your business,” said Herbert River Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Maria Battoraro.

“Keeping accurate records can help you know more about your business and make informed decisions about your productivity and profitability.”

Cairns Region Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Kasey Shaw, working through an example record-keeping template.

Cairns Region Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Kasey Shaw, working through an example record-keeping template.

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

Held in conjunction with local CANEGROWERS offices and representatives from Smartcane BMP, the workshops provided growers with the tools to streamline their record keeping process and work the practice into their routine.

“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,” said Tully Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Nick Stipis.

“However, many have encountered barriers with the record-keeping requirements of Smartcane BMP.”

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

“We have developed record-keeping templates for Smartcane BMP which really come down to four simple steps - recording who carried out the task, what inputs were applied and their rates of application, when was it done, and where the farm and blocks are,” said Cairns Region Smartcane BMP Facilitator, Kasey Shaw.

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

The record-keeping templates are just one of the many resources available at CANEGROWERS offices to assist growers in their journey through Smartcane BMP.

Also at the workshops were members of Project Cane Changer who took attendees through some tips and tricks to streamline the record-keeping process.

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.

“We know that there can be a number of obstacles which may get in the way of keeping accurate or timely records,” said Cane Changer Project Manager, Toneya McIntosh.

“That’s why we’ve included some simple strategies based around habit formation that you can use to work the process of record-keeping into your routine.”

Project Cane Changer is a CANEGROWERS initiative designed to better understand the challenges faced by growers and to recognise them for their history of environmental stewardship and practice change.

The project also aims to ‘Set the Record Straight about the positive changes taking place on-farm.

If you’re interested in finding out more about record-keeping templates, Smartcane BMP, or future workshops, you can contact your local CANEGROWERS office or Smartcane BMP Facilitator.