Archive for March, 2023

REGEN CANE FARMING FORUM this week! Register now!

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

The 2023 Regen Cane Farming Forum: It’s on again!

This time we will be back in Ingham, North Queensland. If you are a Cane Farmer or work in the industry then join us for this exciting event of networking and sharing of practical information.

Learn from cane farmers who are innovating and making changes to their farming system as they share their experience in the paddock.

The forum will include small group visits to 4 farms in the Ingham district over 2 days along with a fantastic social night of networking and a chance to meet innovative companies supporting cane farmers who are sponsoring the event.

Growers and industry professionals from all districts welcome to attend!


If you have not been before then check out our video of the 2019 event! You wont want to miss it! 

Herbert Growers recognised at Annual Industry Awards

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Following the Walk & Talk, HCPSL held the annual Industry Awards. The awards recognise grower’s commitment to productivity, innovation, research, and the boarder industry. HCPSL is proud to announce the award recipients below.

Wrapping up Herbert Walk & Talk 2023

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Last week over 90 growers attended HCPSL’s annual Walk and Talk. Growers had the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding on a range of topics including – variety development & new varieties, mill mud & ash benefits, managing diseases, the soil biome, micronutrients, as well as reef & carbon credits.

The HCPSL Team would like to say thank you to all growers who attended, asked questions, shared experiences, and participated in open discussions throughout the day.

HCPSL would also like to extend our thanks to the sponsors and supporting organisations of the 2022 Walk & Talk Day – GBRF, Australian Government Reef Trust, Agro Group, Green Collar, Project CaNE, Project Catalyst, Soil CRC, Sugar Research Australia, Stoller and Wilmar.

2023 Herbert Regional Variety Committee Meeting

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Join Sugar Research Australia and engage with industry representatives of growers, millers, and productivity service organisations. Regional Variety Committees (RVCs) decide on the final stages of the breeding pipeline and whether a variety is released and to be grown commercially.

When: 8.30am – 12.30pm, Wednesday 5 April 2023
Where: Royal Hotel, 44/40-46 Lannercoast Street, Ingham

For more information and to RSVP by Friday 31 March
Contact Linda Di Maggio
Plant Breeding Technician – Herbert
Email: or call 0459 877 126

Full details below.

HCPSL Grower Board Election Results

Posted by Ellie McVeigh


The votes have been counted for the 2023 HCPSL Grower Board elections.

Four candidates contested the 2023 HCPSL Grower Board elections, to fill the 3 positions on the HCPSL Board.

The results of the election are as follows:

Gino Zatta-                  79 votes

Michael Pisano-          72 votes

Greg Erkkila-               66 votes

Anthony Girgenti-       55 votes

Number of informal votes- 3

Gino Zatta, Michael Pisano and Greg Erkkila are the 3 growers elected to the HCPSL Board.

HCPSL would like to thank all growers who nominated for the election.

These three growers will be joined on the Board with the 3 Mill appointed Board members:

A special thanks to our outgoing Board members: Nicole Butler (Miller Board member) and Michael Waring (Grower Board member) (who did not seek re-election) for their dedication and years of service to the company.

The vote count was supervised by Peter Timms (HCPSL Commercial Services Manager) as the Returning Officer and independent observers / vote counters Greg Shannon (Tully Sugar Productivity Manager) and Peter Sutherland (Tully Cane Productivity Services Manager).

The new Board will be installed on the 28th of March 2023.

Signed: Peter Timms, HCPSL Commercial Services Manager.

Cane Haulout Operator Course: 17th – 21st April

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Are you keen to work in the cane harvesting sector? Enrol now in the Cane Haulout Operator Course.

In memorial of “The Father of the Modern Sugarcane Farming System”.

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Dr. Alan Garside “The Father of the Modern Sugarcane farming system” passed away on the 10th of March 2023, in Townsville. A service to celebrate Alan’s life was held at Morley’s funeral house Townsville on the 16th of March, with family, friends, and representatives from the Australian sugarcane industry in attendance.

Dr. Alan Garside

Alan led the Sugarcane Yield Decline Joint Venture Program, for 14 years through the early 1990- early 2000’s. This was the largest research program ever undertaken by the Australian sugarcane industry. Alan brought together a multidisciplinary team of scientists to investigate why cane yields were declining in the industry. The key findings of the program are still relevant today:

Other notable agricultural successes include the development of the Northern Australian soybean industry, with Alan being involved with the selection of 2 significant varieties, one being Leichardt.

Alan was also well recognized internationally, working with agriculture industries across four continents- Australia, Asia, Africa and South America during his working career.

Alan was commissioned by HCPSL in the early 2010’s to undertake a study into the productivity constraints of the Herbert sugarcane industry.

Alan lived a fruitful and eventful life. The poem “That Man is a Success” is a testament of Alan’s life.

That Man Is A Success

Author Unknown

That Man is a success who has lived well,

Laughed often and loved much;

Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women and

the love of children;

who has filled his niche and

accomplished his task;

who leaves the world

better than he found it,

who has never lacked

appreciation of Earth’s

beauty or failed to express it;

who looked for the best in others,

and gave the very best he had.

Alan’s knowledge, passion for agriculture and friendship will be greatly missed.

Rest in Peace Alan.

You can share memories and photos of Alan here.


Posted by Ellie McVeigh

REMINDER: Herbert Walk & Talk this Wednesday 8am!

Please note there will be NO parking on-site at the HCPSL & SRA Offices. Please park on Sportsman Parade. Shuttle buses will be running from Sportsman Parade to the HCPSL Office from 7:45am.

Herbert Growers Provide Valuable On-Ground Feedback On Project Cane

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Earlier this week, the Project CaNE Team met with project funders, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) – who visited Project CaNE growers across the Herbert to gain an on-ground understanding of the projects in the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program. The GBRF team, were interested to hear from Project CaNE growers who shared their experiences and thoughts, and provided valuable feedback to funders for the future.

The visit allowed the Project CaNE team and growers to share in how the project has assisted and supported growers in the Herbert to improve practices that not only benefit productivity and profitability, but also water quality.

Project CaNE™ is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Senator Hon. James Mc Grath visits HCPSL

Posted by Ellie McVeigh


HCPSL received a visit by Queensland Senator the Hon. James McGrath last Thursday (2nd of March) to gain a better understanding of the sugarcane industry and activities undertaken by HCPSL.

The Hon. Senator James McGrath was elected to the Senate for Queensland in 2013, re-elected in 2016 and 2022. The Senator is currently the Deputy Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

The Senator met with the HCPSL Company Manager- Lawrence Di Bella and HCPSL Administration Manager- Sue Beccaris to discuss pest and disease issues experienced by the local industry and other company related matters.

HCPSL would like to thank the Senator for taking the time to visit HCPSL in his very busy schedule.

Photo above (left to right): Lawrence Di Bella, Hon. Senator James McGrath and Sue Beccaris.