Cane growers in the Burdekin met in Home Hill last week to look at a new trial that has been initiated by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and Burdekin Productivity Services (BPS).
Thirteen growers from the Burdekin District attended the get together to find out about alternative fallow crops, inter row spacing trials and tools that can assist them to improve profitability.
“These tools are designed to help growers manage their finances on the farm and make calculated decisions as to what crops to grow, or assess which practice changes are economically viable,” said DAF Economist Sam Cook.
Growers were shown a newly implemented trial that will evaluate the benefits of increasing inter row spacing from 1.5m to 1.8m, as well as a number of other difference such as planting configuration, irrigation efficiency and water quality outcomes.
DAF agronomist Brock Dembowski said plant strike between the different treatments was of most interest to the growers and considering the block received 230mm of rain just days after planting, all treatments had a great strike.
“Growers were particularly impressed with the strike in the 1.8m single row which utilised a standard plough planter with a modified chute to compensate for the extra width of the bed,” said Brock.
“Winter fallow options can be a major consideration for growers and contracts for alternative crops that suit the winter climate can be difficult to attain at times.
“Most of these crops are not commonly grown in the Burdekin, so information on how to grow them is limited. Growers were keen to have a look at a freshly planted sweet corn crop and talk about management options with different crops during the cooler months.”
Brock explained that the grower group is designed to be run by farmers, for farmers, with DAF, BPS and Sugar Research Australia (SRA) supporting the group by providing specialist speakers and information to help facilitate discussion around the desired topic.
“The group will meet on a regular basis, with the next meeting likely to be held during the crush. If other growers are interested in joining, get in touch with their local Extension Officer from DAF, BPS or SRA,” he said.
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