Archive for May, 2023

HCPSL hosts Biggest Morning Tea

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Last Friday, HCPSL hosted a Biggest Morning Tea raising funds for the Cancer Council. Thanks to the generous donations from Majestic Café, Ingham Bakehouse and those in attendance, the event raised over $320 for the Cancer Council.

Thank you again to all the local organisations who came along – WISH, Canegrowers Herbert River, QSL, SRA and Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Reflecting on the event, the HCPSL team found it valuable to interact and collaborate with other local organisations, while raising funds for an important cause. Based on positive feedback from the morning, HCPSL hopes to host this event again in the future.

HCPSL Attends Hinchinbrook Find Your Future Expo!

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

This week HCPSL attended the Hinchinbrook Find Your Future Careers Expo. Staff spoke with students considering subject choices and future careers in and around agriculture. The team had some great questions from students on drone technology, the meaning of soil pH , and the many pathways to becoming an agronomist and finding a career in the sugarcane industry.

Thanks to the students who chatted with the HCPSL team!

Hinchinbrook organisations collaborate to deliver Haul Out Training course

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Together with the Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce Industry & Tourism, Farm Safe Queensland, QITE, Happy Days Training, Wilmar and HCPSL worked together to deliver the Cane Haul Out Operators course last week.

The course covered various aspects of harvesting and cane haul out operations. Information delivered in the course included – Workplace Health and Safety, cane siding induction, safe working near powerlines, pest and disease management, cane haul out operation and equipment maintenance, as well as basic harvester operational maintenance. The training also allowed participants to gain valuable hands-on experience and skills in the overall operations of the cane haul out processes. With the commencement of billet planting operations, participants were provided the opportunity to train with harvesters cutting cane, gaining valuable experience in readiness for immediate employment.

Congratulations to the twelve individuals who successfully completed the 5-day course and who are now eager to put these skills to work in the local industry. The training organisation will continue to work with the candidates for a period when they obtain jobs in the agriculture sector.

These graduates are out and abound now looking for jobs in the industry, so give them some consideration.

VARIETY UPDATE: Outcomes from the Herbert Variety Committee (RVC) meeting

Posted by Ellie McVeigh


The Herbert Variety Committee meeting was held on the 5th of April 2023. The outcomes from the meeting are as follows:

Governance of the RVC:

The Herbert RVC have established governance procedures in which the meetings are run and managed. Governance procedures that need to be followed:

SRA31- Distribution through HCPSL Approved Seed plots

During 2022, it was decided to hold off on the distribution of SRA31 based upon some observations of smut. Critical review of the situation indicated the unusual smut infection was likely due to the interaction between very high temperatures and herbicide application. During the 2023 Herbert RVC meeting it was decided to proceed with the distribution of the variety to growers from HCPSL Approved Seed plots.

Growers who are wishing to purchase SRA31 from the HCPSL Approved Seed plots are requested to contact the HCPSL office- 47761808, immediately to order planting material.

Rogue clone found in SRA28

HCPSL and SRA staff identified a rogue clone in some HCPSL Approved Seed plots during their routine inspections of the plots for diseases and variety correctness. QN05-1380 has been found to be mixed with SRA28 with some cane supplied to growers in the past 2 years.

QN05-1380 was discarded by the SRA plant breeding program because its poor yield performance.

Variety tracing activities have been undertaken by both HCPSL and SRA staff to identify how the mix up occurred, however there are no clear leads on how QN05-1380 became mixed with SRA28 in the first place.

The HCPSL Approved Seed plots of concern are as follows:

The impacted growers have been recently contacted. These growers have been asked to obtain new stocks of SRA28 from HCPSL, if they wish to continue growing the variety to ensure variety correctness.

Growers can be reassured that cane purchased from HCPSL Approved Seed plots is RSD free.

HCPSL is requesting all growers to be on the lookout for the rogue clone and report it to HCPSL immediately. Photographs on the next 2 pages will highlight the visual differences between SRA28 and QN05-1380. QN05-1380 has a similar stalk colour appearance to MQ239.

HCPSL and SRA apologise for any inconvenience caused. HCPSL will ensure that growers who wish to obtain new SRA28 planting material in 2023, will be able to do so.


Soil to Food Conference, Atherton – 3rd & 4th June

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Interest in soil health has been gathering momentum within the Wet Tropics farming community for the past decade. This event is an opportunity for farmers and the agricultural industry to connect with each other and share ideas and innovations that support healthy soil leading to healthy people and profits.

Speakers include:

Topics on the agenda include:



The event is delivered by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. It is also supported by Wet Tropics SoilCare, TNQ Drought Hub, Sustainable Table, Regeneration International, Lower Wet Tropics SoilCare, Tropical Pasture Seeds, Cairns Micro Greens, Eco Bananas, Skybury and Mungalli Biodynamics.

REMINDER GROWERS: Wilmar Data Consent Changes

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

If you wish to do so, please take the time to actively Opt IN to provide HCPSL with your mill data.

What are some of the activities that HCPSL uses grower data for?

The Opt In is voluntary and at any time you can Opt Out if you wish to do so.

To allow HCPSL access to your data, visit the Wilmar grower portal and ‘TICK’ the HCPSL option under ‘Consent Given’.

If you require assistance using the online portal, visit the HCPSL office. Further information can be found via the HCPSL website:


Posted by Ellie McVeigh

With current fertiliser prices, it is essential, now more than ever, that your fertiliser blend and rate is matched to crop requirements.

Taking a soil sample ensures you are not over or under applying specific crop nutrients. By taking a soil sample, a HCPSL agronomist can provide you with tailored nutrition advice, ensuring adequate crop nutrition and minimising unnecessary input application.

To make sampling easier, visit the HCPSL Office to borrow a soil auger.

If you’d like more information or advice on soil sampling, please contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808.

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

Grower grants help improve nutrient runoff and water quality in the Herbert catchment

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Grower Incentive Grants made it possible for Herbert growers to invest in new machinery by receiving financial support to better improve water quality associated with on-farm nitrogen management practice changes and the results in Nitrogen run-off are evident.

Results from a trial in the Abergowrie area conducted by the Queensland Government, HCPSL, James Cook University and Terrain NRM in 2013 revealed sub-surface fertiliser application reduced runoff losses of Nitrogen, phosphorus and Sulphate-S from recent applications when compared to surface applications in the Herbert Catchment.

The application of fertiliser provides essential nutrients to enhance sugarcane growth and yield. The rate of application and where fertiliser is placed in the soil profile influences plant uptake and the loss through runoff and deep drainage.

HCPSL Company Manager Lawrence Di Bella, who participated in the study stated, “The findings from this study clearly shows sub-surface applications of both liquid and granular fertilisers had a positive impact on reducing nitrogen runoff from cane farms. The study also looked at cane yields from the various practices to find that broadcast applications of fertiliser on the soil surface had lower yields when compared to other methods. These results are a win-win for the environment and growers’ hip pocket.”

Grower Incentive Grants are part of the Major Grants Project and the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program (LHWQP). Funded by the Reef Trust Partnership the aim is to improve the quality of water flowing from the Herbert River catchment to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon while at the same time improving productivity and profitability of the Herbert sugar industry.

The Lower Herbert Water Quality Program aims to prevent 140 tonnes of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from the Herbert River catchment each year. Under the Reef 2050 plan to reduce runoff of dissolved inorganic nitrogen the Herbert River is one of the highest priority river catchments. The $16.2 million program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with coordination support provided by CANEGROWERS Herbert River.

More information and interviews: Jason Wolfgram | Communications Manager – Lower Herbert Water Quality Program | 0436 469 018