Archive for June, 2023

AORA 2023 Annual Conference Proceedings

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Recently, HCPSL Company Manager, Lawrence Di Bella presented and attended the 2023 Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Annual Conference.

The AORA Annual Conference is the principal conference in Australia for the recycled organics industry. Each conference is a forum for education, discussion and networking related to Organics Recycling.

To view conference proceedings and presentations CLICK HERE.

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GROWER INSIGHT: Considering applying Moddus® on your farm?

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Considering applying Moddus® on your farm?

Abergowrie grower, John Russo discusses how he utilises applications of Moddus® on his property.

John shares insight into his experience using the product. “We target our river flat country, which is low and gets flooded easily. The idea is, to make sugar. We can cut the crop first or second round, then the ratoon cane is up and away before Christmas floods.”

Want to know more? Contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808 to speak with Project Catalyst team members – Megan or Bethany.

Project Catalyst is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF-Australia.

RFDS: Mental Health and Wellbeing on the Land

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Natural disasters, droughts, financial stress, and geographic isolation are some of the challenges faced by people in regional and rural Queensland. 

These adversities often have a significant impact on entire communities, families, and the local economy. 

However, the impact on mental health and wellbeing can be overlooked and, due to the remoteness and lack of supply, accessing appropriate services can be more challenging than in urban areas.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service is working towards increasing access to mental health services in regional and rural Queensland through the development and distribution of the new book ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing on the Land’.

This valuable resource, which has been funded by a grant provided by Thankful4Farmers, aims to provide support to individuals and families who are struggling with mental health issues and help break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking help.

Download a copy of ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing on the Land’ via the link below.

Outback Mental Health | Royal Flying Doctor Service

Have you ever thought about Moddus® or Grappa?

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Have you ever thought about Moddus® or Grappa?

With lower-than-average CCS in last year’s cane crop and high sugar prices on the market again this season, growers are looking at ways to increase CCS value in their crops for the upcoming harvest season.

Moddus® & Grappa are products with a foliar-absorbed plant growth regulator that has been shown to increase sugar yield. The products give growers opportunities to improve early and late CCS in their crops as a harvest management tool to increase grower profitability.

Interested in learning more about these products? View the Project Catalyst Factsheet below.

Project Catalyst is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF-Australia.

REMINDER: Tissue Culture 2024 Orders!

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Are you considering planting tissue culture in 2024?

To secure your tissue culture for June 2024 delivery, please place an order by Tuesday 20th June.

If your considering planting SRA40, seed cane will not be available until 2025. So if you wish to obtain this variety in 2024, it will only be available via tissue culture seedlings.

To place a tissue culture order, contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808 to speak with Rhiannan.

HCPSL talks Precision Agriculture at the SRA Herbert Field Day

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Recently, HCPSL GIS Officer, Rod Nielson presented on the Hinchinbrook Community Feral Pig Management Program’s Project Squealer at the SRA Herbert Field Day. The field day featured various presentations and demonstrations from SRA technical staff and researchers, including – An overview of the Herbert Productivity Plan, Imidacloprid research, managing smut issues, and balancing nutrient inputs.

Rod from the HCPSL team, provided Herbert growers with insight into the technology currently being used for managing feral pigs under Project Squealer. Throughout the day Rod also chatted with Herbert farmers on the range of precision agriculture services HCPSL offers.

If you’d like to know more about precision ag, drones or GIS technology, please contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808 to speak with Rod.

The Sugar Industry on Show: The 2023 Australian Organics Recycling Association Conference

Posted by Ellie McVeigh


The Herbert sugarcane industry was on show at the 10th AORA annual conference which was held in Melbourne between the 7-9 June 2023. The AORA Annual conference is the principal conference in Australia for the recycled organics industry. Each conference is a forum for education, discussion and networking related to Organics Recycling. Over 320 attended the conference from across Australia and overseas.

Did you know that the sugarcane industry is one of Australia’s largest producers of recycled organics. Australia’s raw sugar mills produce between 600,000 – 1,800,000 tonnes per annum of Mill mud and Ash (being 2-6% of the sugarcane supply). Sugar mills would stop production if this valuable waste streams were not removed frequently from site.

HCPSL Company Manager Lawrence Di Bella was invited to present at the conference as a Keynote Speaker on the topic- “Seizing the Opportunity-Learnings from the sugarcane industry.”

Over the 3 days presenters from industry, government, machinery suppliers, end users and scientists presented on a range of topics. Other keynote speakers who shared the stage with Lawrence was, Frank Franciosi- Executive Director, USA Composting Council and Compost Research and Education Foundation and the Hon. Penelope Wensley former Governor of Queensland, National Soils Advocate & Patron of the Australian Organics Recycling Association.

Photo above- Lawrence Di Bella (HCPSL Company Manager) presenting at the AORA conference.

Lawrence discussed how the sugarcane industry utilises mill mud and ash products on farm, trials undertaken by HCPSL and its partners on biochar and green waste uses in sugarcane farming systems. The presentation covered off on logistics, crop response to these products, challenges and farmer extension activities undertaken to account for the nutrients from these products in a sugarcane system.

A field tour was conducted on the first day of the conference at the massive Repurpose It organic waste management business site on the out skirts of Melbourne. The field tour showcased machinery and technologies used by the recycled organics industry across the country, with companies showing their wears, with real live demonstrations.

Photo above – Large equipment showcased at the conference field trip.

A large 10t compost applicator used to remediate sodic soil in southern and western Victoria was on show at the field trip. Victorian farmers are using this type of implement to subsurface apply composts, gypsum, and lime at depths of 0.3-0.5m to manage sodicity, increase water holding capacity of soils and increase plant rooting depth leading to improvements in crop yields. Interesting some growers in Victoria are choosing to make significant investments in sub-surface soil remediation over purchasing additional high valued farming land in an attempt to vertically increase productivity of their already owned farms.

Photo left – Lawrence Di Bella standing next to the 10t compost applicator on show at the field trip.
Photo right – A side image of the applicator, note the hydraulically adjustable land wheels, large ripper legs and delivery shoots.

The second and third days of the conference were held at the Pullman Albert Park conference venue. Guest speakers covered some of the following topics:

The recycled organics industry is booming and will continue to boom as people seek to reduce their environmental footprint, we move to achieve net zero targets set, seek alternative nutrient sources, improve their soil health, and increase crop productivity. Those waste streams that used to end up in land fill are now making their way back into our communities and farms as repurposed products.

Give it some thought next time you throw that organic waste product in the rubbish bin, burn cane trash or dispose of that old timber pallet. Could that item be of value on my farm by improving my soil health, reducing my artificial fertiliser input or helping me increase my productivity. As fertiliser costs increase and our farming land ages after many years of cropping, we need to ask ourselves- “Are there other ways to improve my business?”

Photo left – Former HCPSL employee showing the differences in cane yields associated with a zonal mill ash application (on right) compared to untreated cane (on the left) from a trial on a heavy clay soil, in the Trebonne area.
Photo right – Green waste being applied to cane farms in the Bambaroo area, associated with the HCPSL led Landcare Green waste trials. Project collaborators: HCPSL, Burdekin Productivity Services, Burdekin, Townsville and Hinchinbrook Shire Councils.

For more information concerning the conference or AORA, please go to:

The Latest from Soil CRC

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Soil CRC Newsletter: June 2023

The Soil CRC research community is looking forward to the Soil Science Australia conference being held in Darwin at the end of June.

As well as the chance to spend a few days in warmer climes for most of us, it is a great opportunity to for Soil CRC researchers and students to present their work to their peers and to hear about other research being undertaken across Australia. Read more about the Soil CRC’s contribution to this conference below.

On the subject of conferences, planning is progressing for the Soil CRC Participants Conference in Launceston, Tasmania at the end of August. Watch out for registration details in coming weeks. There is plenty of other activity going on in the Soil CRC, some of which is highlighted in the newsletter below.

Stay in touch with the Soil CRC and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube.

Dr Michael Crawford
CEO, Soil CRC