With almost no rainfall during the early wet season, the Burdekin district has had intermittent and patchy rainfall since, interrupting planting by varying degrees. Predictions are for above average rainfall for the first months of the season. Grower representatives met with Sucrogen staff to determine the start of crush at each of the Burdekin mills and estimates for the 2013 season.
|2013 Season Start|
Due to the late season finishes and the “yellow canopy syndrome” having severely affected cane in the district, these estimates may fall still further. The district crushed 7.48 million tonnes of cane overall in 2012, a huge drop in production for the district and 2013 looks to further reduce any relief for the growers and the district.
BPS continue to coordinate with BSES and other growers involved in seeking solutions and causes of the Yellow Canopy Syndrome, affected cane across the district.
Second year GPS data will be collected again in the same Invicta and Kalamia harvesting groups as last year. Wet weather trials will commence in Inkerman and regular meetings will be held to report on activities and results.
All blocks that in any way could affect visibility for contractors or traffic, should be harvested early, to ensure safety of all traffic.
Capital works and maintenance in the mills is said to be on target and preparations for the season should be ready for the proposed start date.
Workplace Safety siding Inductions:
It is COMPULSORY for all harvester/haul-out operators and anyone working at sidings during the course of the season, to attend a siding induction course before commencing work for the season. Please take advantage of the siding induction courses available by phoning: 07 – 47 821 922 to register.
A member of the grower pricing team will be at Pioneer Mill every Thursday, for any grower who has any queries or concerns relating to their forward pricing or for any growers needing help with setting up their forward pricing profiles and creating orders for future seasons.
Pre-season meetings discussed mill performance and maintenance; crop estimate and start date; daily cane supply requirements and potential issues with yellow cane and consequences of poor quality cane or supply gaps.
SRDC held a regional expo in April, which demonstrated the Research and development being funded in the industry. During the expo, researchers highlighted some of the work being carried out in collecting data and utilising it to assist better farm management decisions.
The ASSCT conference was held at the Townsville entertainment centre in April and was well attended and informative. SRDC held a presentation dinner for scholarship recipients prior to ASSCT and it gave an excellent overview of the research grants being funded and their purpose for the industry.
The ACFA AGM and Soil Health conference was also held, immediately prior to the conference and proved to be an excellent forum for discussion on alternative nutrition products available to the industry.
A significant challenge to the industry has presented in the form of the dismantling of BSES and morphing both it and SRDC into an organisation that displays a serious conflict of interest – one organisation in control of both the funding source and the funding recipient. It was of serious concern to me to hear that CSIRO have already been advised that they will not have access to the facilities at BSES, in order to engage in industry research. The legislation has not even been passed into law and these directives are being issued…how does this exclusion of research bodies present as anything but ‘uncompetitive’ and favouring the ‘in house’ researchers. The appalling lack of attention to these concerns is something that the government and industry bodies involved, must be held accountable for. These issues have serious implications for the industry.
Additionally, the issue of ‘yellow canopy syndrome’ is one that is not receiving the attention it requires. Suggestions that lack of irrigation or fertiliser appear unsubstantiated, considering the previously high producing farmers that are affected along the coast. It seems the problem has affected crops along the far north coast for at least a year or two, according to anecdotal advice in the industry. That appears to be backed up by evidence of high dirt and stools being transferred to bins during those seasons, which may be attributed to the damaged root systems that the syndrome causes.
I would like to commend the local BPS staff, who have involved themselves thoroughly in examination of root systems affected, leaf and soil analysis and consultation with growers involved. It is unfortunate that the effects of the uncertainty with BSES’s future has been apparent in the lack of cohesion along the coast in addressing or even providing an accurate picture, of how significant or widespread the problem is.
Mob: 0407 779 700