The Cyclone season has drawn to an end for another year, but not without a last minute effort from cyclone Zane which crossed over the tip of Cape York in early May. The northern cane farming regions were relatively untouched; however we did receive a few days of wet weather which is unlikely to affect the crop in the northern areas. It may postpone a few planting programs for a week or two.
The Mossman region’s chances of a reasonable crop appears very likely and I feel that a crop estimate of around 560 000 is very achievable. A reminder to all farmers that their estimates along with any map correction must now be sent back to Mossman Agricultural Services.
Local farmers are also eager for some good weather so they can start their planting programs. To date there has not been any early planting carried out but most of our fallow blocks have been sprayed out and are awaiting cultivation. Growers are reminded that before they intend to plant, to please contact their local Productivity Board for a plant source inspection. For an accurate reading it can take a few weeks for the results, so please give your field officer plenty of notice before you intend to plant.
The biggest news that I can report on in this issue, is the News that Mackay Sugar has entered into an agreement with the Tableland growers to crush around 700 000t through the Mossman Mill in 2014.This news is still relatively new and not all the details have been finalised. Local growers were updated on the news just after the announcement and we are awaiting more details as they come to hand.
The news has been welcomed by Mossman Farmers and this arrangement will only make the Mossman Mill more viable long term. It will have benefits of reducing the daily quotas of all coastal harvesters and increase employment in the local area. The mill will also receive some much-needed capital and repairs, to be in a position to handle the extra cane to be processed. The one drawback that I can see is that our season length will now increase, with the potential for the crush running into the start of the wet season in Late November. Only time will tell if this will affect the regions productivity.
On the 2nd of May Sugarcane industry stakeholders were invited to an interactive demonstration of some of the Sugar Research and Development Corporation’s (SRDC) project highlights at their regional expo held in Mossman.
This year’s expo theme for the Northern Region was your farm…a new perspective.
The expo was well attended and it was a great opportunity to find out how SRDC has invested our levies and to network with other industry members. During the expo, top researchers highlight some of the work that is being carried out across the industry to collect important information and enable industry to use that information for smarter on-farm decision-making.
Industry identities and researchers that presented at the expo included:
- Andrew Robson from QDAFF who talked to us about using remote sensing technologies with imagery that will accurately depict mid-season crop information to assist farmers with mid-season management decisions.
- Norris Energy Crop Technology discussed how supplementary cleaning after the harvesting operation, in conjunction with “low loss” harvesting settings can result in a win: win situation for all industry sectors.
- Richard Brackin from University of Queensland highlighted new developments in understanding the microbiology of sugarcane soils and how management strategies can be used to promote healthy soils.
- Lawrence Di Bella from HCPSL outlined an integrated monitoring program that will inform landholders and extension staff involved in improving land management practices associated with water quality.
I would like to thank SRDC for running this expo and after talking to farmers who attend the expo, they reported to me that it was a very worthwhile event and they hoped that it would continue in the future.