Rain again, just 39 to 49 mm but welcome for the cane. April had recorded only 5mm compared to a 59.5mm average. April 28 saw an overnight rain event giving everyone relief from an expected wallop from the new Irrigation electricity tariffs. ALL consumers will have to form another vigilante committee to oppose this turn for the worse in our business. In regions such as ours, irrigation is equal to any expense in our cost of production and we simply have no options.
While not liking this style of activity, campaigns by various groups during recent local Government elections seem to have the ability to draw commitment from candidates on the serious issues. Single issue lobby groups drawing from all the community seem to be necessary to bring any particular issue into focus.
At a local level Regional Councils now enter their second four year term of existence. ACFA members are finding this system of local government rather as remote as state and federal. We will, as an organisation, have to work towards getting Regional Councils back in touch with cane farming. Road funding will be an issue where Regional Councils require our visible support to gain essential funding from Federal level.
The recent roving Field Day from BSES was very well received. Two busloads of farmers attending cannot be a bad outcome. BSES support from farmers was also an obvious point. Reef Rescue funding for machinery, irrigation and drainage was showcased. Advaced variety trials showed the real difficulty in reducing plant breeding investment. BSES presence in the region will be stronger than was first proposed by the BSES internal reshuffle, although at this time just what BSES will look like in the Southern Region is still not 100% clear.
Farming is about to take on a bigger corporation style in the ISIS area, as the land previously occupied by tomato enterprise SP Exports comes back to the sugar industry. No small effort by ISIS Central Mill has seen a proposal to have this land available for lease for sugarcane production. It may be the way of the future as older farmers retire.
From our participation at SRDC’s GIVE Conference; we learned similar operations have been in place for many years in New South Wales.
To the forthcoming harvest, crop estimates across the region are high and early starts are all the go.