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Archive for the ‘Pests and Diseases’ Category

PRESS RELEASE: JCU student is working with HCPSL to try identifying RSD using satellite technology

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Ethan’s Story:

My name is Ethan Waters, I am in my 4th year for a double bachelor’s in electrical engineering and data science. I am currently conducting my honours thesis with the goal of detecting RSD with the satellite sentinel-2. I am in the process of developing a free prototype program that will inform farmers which of their blocks likely contain RSD. This will allow them to make more informed decisions to prevent the spread of RSD, increasing yield and profits for farmers. The benefit of using large scale imaging with a satellite is the ability to analyse an entire farm for RSD at the same time, rather than relying on a limited number of samples. Therefore, this will provide a more accurate indication of whether a block contains RSD than sample testing.

Brief Methodology Explanation:

Sentinel-2 is a multispectral satellite which captures the reflectance of different waves, including those that cannot be seen with the human eye. A number of different vegetation indices will be calculated for each satellite image and used as an input to an algorithm I develop. I am specifically interested in vegetation indices that look at moisture and water retention of plant matter, given that RSD reduces water retention. 

Above: JCU Student, Ethan Waters.

Future Plans: 

Demonstrating a successful prototype would provide strong grounds to apply for a number of grants and investments into sugarcane research to identify and prevent disease. This will help growers in the industry increase yield and profits. 

We need your help!

HCPSL staff will be contacting growers over the next few days asking for permission for Ethan (JCU student) and HCPSL staff to access your farm data to undertake this study. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

If Ethan is successful in identifying RSD using satellite imagery, it will greatly assist growers better understand and manage the disease.

For more information on the project contact Ethan Waters on 0435 626 685.

Download a copy of Press Release below.

Press release: Keep an eye out for Rats

Posted by Bethany Donker

Rat numbers are on the increase across the Herbert cane growing region. Growers are urged to monitor crops for rat infestations over the next few months and take the necessary action to manage this pest before significant crop damage occurs.

Lodged and open crops, since the recent rains have allowed for weeds to emerge within the crop and for rats to easily forage on laying down cane stalks. Significant crop damage due to rats was observed late last year and will continue again this season, due to ideal conditions being experienced.

HCPSL and Project Catalyst, recently conducted a workshop on “Rats, Pigs and Soils”, where Travis Van Dooren from Travearth Drone Services (mobile: 0423 638 628) showcased his drone mounted rat bait dispensing device. The device can drop industry approved rat baits from a drone precisely and accurately into large standing and lodged crops of cane. This service will allow farmers to target smaller blocks and blocks where larger aircraft cannot service.

Local aerial operators Liddles and Travearth are available to undertake rat baiting activities of large or small cane blocks in the local area.

As a part of an integrated rat management program farmers are also urged to manage weed infestations within crop and along riparian areas. Weed seed is a source of protein for rats and allows them to reproduce into significant numbers, if left unmanaged.

Growers should consider rat baiting problematic blocks as a part of their integrated rat management program before significant crop losses occur this year.

For more information about implementing an integrated rat management program, please contact a HCPSL Extension Agronomist.

Travis Van Dooren showcasing his drone-mounted rat bait dispenser at the recent HCPSL & Project Catalyst workshop.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WEED? IPOMOEA TUBEROSA

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Weeds on the HCPSL watch list:

Have you seen this weed?

Ipomoea tuberosa has been recently located in the Abergowrie area.

About the plant

Merremia tuberosa is a climbing vine that is native to Mexico and parts of central America that has become invasive on various Pacific islands and parts of the United States. The vine overgrows tall hardwood forest canopies and smothers native trees and shrubs. The plant is easily identified by its yellow flower and finger like leaf pattern.

The Issue

In the Abergowrie area the weed has inhabited riparian areas, killing trees that it has grown over.

The weed is also a significant problem in sugarcane fields climbing up plants and smothering cane. The plant has the opportunity to re-establish rapidly in the cane crop with multiple sprayings in a growing season to control the weed.

If you have seen this weed, please notify HCPSL on 0400544301 or 0448084252.

Navua Sedge Weed Research

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

HCPSL is working with the Queensland Government Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries to Estimate the economic cost of Navua sedge to the cane industry. The Herbert cane industry is now seeing first hand the impact of Nauva sedge to sugarcane farming land on the northern side of Ingham. The research team has contacted HCPSL to seek assistance to undertake this survey and we are jointly investigating management options for cane production systems .

Please take the time to complete the questionnaire below and forward to olusegun.osunkoya@daf.qld.gov.au who is undertaking the economic assessment.

If you require assistance to complete the form please contact the HCPSL office.

We look forward to your assistance in better managing this aggressive weed.

HERBERT REGION RATOON STUNTING DISEASE WORKSHOPS

Posted by Rod Neilson

The RSD workshop is developed for Herbert region growers and planting contractors.
The purpose is to provide growers and local industry with information on RSD including:

SEED INSPECTIONS: Call to arrange your seed inspection now

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Think about getting your seed inspections done now and which blocks you may use this year.

Inspection of grower seed blocks for planting by HCPSL has commenced again this year.


Once again, HCPSL will be using the new qPCR method to check cane for RSD. The qPCR method uses DNA diagnostic technology to diagnose the presence or not of the RSD bacteria. This method is much more accurate than older methods, but more expensive to operate.


It is currently costing HCPSL over $40/sample to undertake the test, so we are requesting that growers only test blocks they intend to use as planting material this year. HCPSL will be capping growers to 1 sample per 20 hectares under cane, so only target the varieties you intend to use for planting this year. Growers who wish to test more than their allocated cap will be required to meet the cost of the extra qPCR test and it will only be undertaken once all growers seed inspections are completed.
The cap on the number of samples has also been imposed because of the very high demand for the service and to allow HCPSL to get across more farms throughout the district.


The turnaround time from taking the sample to receiving your results can be up to 2 weeks, so we urge growers to contact the HCPSL office ASAP on 47761808 to book in your tests.


If you have any questions concerning the test or RSD management, please contact your HCPSL Extension Agronomist.


Date issued 18/3/2022

HCPSL Walk & Talk 2022

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

On the 9th of March, HCPSL held the annual Walk & Talk Day for 2022. Over 120 growers from across the Herbert district attended the event. Growers had the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding on a range of topics including – fallow crops, new varieties, tissue culture, chemicals, and harvester management.

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 – Sugar Research Australia, Stoller, Nufarm, Project CaNE, Project Catalyst, The Australian Government Reef Trust, GBRF, John Deere and Norris.

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.

Walk and Talk 2022

Herbert Industry Awards

HCPSL Walk & Talk 2022

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

HCPSL invite you to the 2022 Herbert Walk & Talk Day.

Date: Wednesday 9th March 2022.

Time: 8:30am to 2pm.

Location: HCPSL Macknade Farm, River Road Macknade.

For further information, view the flyer below.

HCPSL Walk and Talk Flyer 2022

Press Release – Feral Pig Funding

Posted by Sandra Coco
  PRESS RELEASE.     Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities The Honourable Mark Furner
More funding to fight feral pests
Local governments and Landcare groups across Queensland will receive grants totalling almost $1 million to support projects that reduce the impact of invasive plants and animals. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said under Round 6 of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI), $964,888 will be invested in the fight against feral pigs, local government capacity building, invasive ants, weeds such as Cats Claw Creeper, and preventing the further spread of some established species such as cane toads.

Successful applicants include:
Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council
Brisbane City Council
Burdekin Shire Council
South Burnett Regional Council
Terrain NRM Torres Shire Council
Gympie Regional Council.

“Through this initiative the Palaszczuk Government has now committed more than $25 million over five years to support the construction of cluster fencing and the control of invasive plants and animals,” Mr Furner said. “This funding is complemented by a $14 million investment from the Federal Government. “As with previous rounds, these grants help reduce the impact of feral pests and support more jobs in the regions as part of the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.”
Media contact:          Ron Goodman            0427 781 920
The State of Queensland
(Department of the Premier and Cabinet)

HCPSL