Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

FEAT Online: Farm Economic Analysis Tool

Posted by Rod Neilson

The Townsville DAF Economists Team, supported by Project CaNE, will be hosting a free workshop demonstrating FEAT Online at the HCPSL office. It’s a great opportunity to develop skills to examine your profitability and assist with decision making.

See attached a flyer with more information. Contact Zachary Judge – 0461 385 227 for any questions regarding the workshop or FEAT Online.

Spots are limited so please RSVP ASAP to HCPSL to register your interest.

2024 Herbert Walk & Talk Day

Posted by Rod Neilson

Tuesday 26th March, 2025.

Commencing at 8:15am to 12:00 midday

At Ingham Station, 181 Fairford Road

Bus Transfer from the Soccer Grounds will be available on the day.

Presentations and Displays will include:

The Herbert Sugar Industry Awards will be presented after the displays followed by a BBQ lunch.

Please RSVP for catering purposes by 22nd March to Sandra Coco, HCPSL on 4776 1808

Dowload Flier

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:

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!

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.


Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Earlier this week, the annual Regenerative Cane Farming Forum was held in Ingham. The forum attracted over 85 growers, from various districts, from the Far North to the Burdekin. The event had a practical focus, allowing forum attendees to learn and gain knowledge from farmers who have successfully changed their farming system.

As always, grower innovation was also a key theme throughout the forum. Attendees had the opportunity to visit farms and see cover crops, controlled traffic, permanent beds, soil health, compost and new machinery in action.

The forum was greatly beneficial for both growers and industry professionals. The event allowed attendees to build on existing knowledge, share ideas, discuss limitations and connect with other like-minded growers.

Thank you to the forum organisers, Soil Land and Food and the Regen Cane Network, who put together a valuable event for cane farmers in the Herbert and throughout North Queensland.

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.