Sugar Research Australia (SRA) has received Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP) accreditation for its research station at Meringa, just south of Cairns.
The accreditation is part of SRA ensuring that its research stations across the industry are meeting the best practice industry standard for farm management and stewardship, and Meringa is the second SRA station to receive the accreditation, following Mackay’s accreditation in 2016. This process was initiated by SRA leader for Resources, Mr Jerome Gumley.
Other research stations will also go through the Smartcane BMP process in the future. The accreditation at Meringa was led by Farm Manager, Mr Jeff Smith, who has worked for SRA and its predecessor organisation for 44 years.
SRA Executive Manager, Operations, Mr Stephen Annells said that Smartcane BMP was recognised as a valuable tool for the industry to improve practice on-farm and to receive acknowledgement for the hard work that is already occurring on many farms.
“Smartcane BMP is rapidly gaining momentum and is a valuable tool for the Australian sugarcane industry to demonstrate improved practices,” Mr Annells said.
“SRA’s research stations grow sugarcane, but our business is research, development and adoption. This means that some of the elements of running a research station do differ at times to running a commercial farm.
“However, the fundamentals of Smartcane BMP are the same and these principles are a natural fit with SRA’s operational activities and farm management plans.
“SRA is also committed to undertaking sustainable and efficient farm operational practices to the benefit of the broader community.
“SRA continues to invest in our research stations and farms through farm management plans and an asset management plan. This extends beyond BMP to also include investments that are recognised as part of the modern farming system.
“I commend Jerome Gumley, Jeff Smith and Annette Corcoran at Mackay for gaining BMP accreditation at these sites.”
The Meringa research station has a long history of sugarcane research in the Wet Tropics and it will be celebrating its centenary later this year. It is where first stage crossing and selection takes place for creating new sugarcane varieties for the Australian industry.
It is also home to a range of other important research activities including water quality, soil health and nutrient management, entomology, milling research, and adoption.