Archive for the ‘Press Release’ 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.

PRESS RELEASE: HCPSL Warren’s Hill GPS Base Station is operational

Posted by Ellie McVeigh


HCPSL Warrens Hill GPS base station is operational.

Recently HCPSL has made a significant investment, with the installation of a new GPS base station to its community network. The new base station will operate on frequency 466.1000. Like all HCPSL base stations in its network, it has been surveyed in for transferability between other base stations when operating across the district.

The new installation is part of a strategy to improve GPS base station signal across the Herbert cane growing region.
During HCPSL’s recent Strategic Planning process (conducted in late 2021 and early 2022), HCPSL members identified the GPS network as critical to farm operations in the district and requested the company to continue to provide this service to its membership. The HCPSL Board recently approved its 2022-23 budget, with further upgrades and maintenance of the GPS network approved to be undertaken over the next few months.

For more information concerning the HCPSL GPS base station network please contact the HCPSL Manager.

Press Release: Theft of cane from Approved Seed Plot

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Last week cane was stolen from one of the HCPSL Approved Seed plots. The variety stolen was SRA36. If you have any information pertaining to the theft it can be reported confidentially to the HCPSL Manager by phoning 0448 084 252 or emailing

HCPSL has cameras located at some of its Approved Seed plots to prevent this from occurring. HCPSL is currently reviewing all its camera footage and asks that those involved with this specific activity to come forward to discuss the matter with the HCPSL Manager, free of reprisals in this specific case. HCPSL is concerned that hygiene practices were not followed.

Theft from HCPSL Approved Seed plots means that growers who were allocated cane may unfairly miss out and that hygiene in relation to disease management maybe compromised. The area in which the cane was removed will now be isolated and monitored over the next 12 months to ensure that no diseases (like RSD) has been introduced into the plot.

If a anyone is found trespassing on HCPSL Approved Seed plots and stealing cane, the matter will be forwarded to the police and dealt with accordingly. Entering HCPSL Approved Seed plots and farms is only permitted when accompanied by a HCPSL Employee or when permission is granted by HCPSL.

HCPSL has completed RSD testing of all its farms and Approved Seed plots for 2022, with no RSD being detected. HCPSL is required to follow strict hygiene practices to ensure that the cane sold from Approved Seed plots is free of RSD; with acts of theft compromising our position.
All HCPSL Approved Seed plots are now open, so please contact the appropriate HCPSL staff to collect cane ordered.

To download a copy of the Press Release, view the document below.

Extension Agronomist Position here at HCPSL

Posted by Sandra Coco

Reports to: The HCPSL Manager, with guidance from the HCPSL Technical Services Team Leader.
Position Purpose
• The Extension Agronomist delivers training and extension to sugarcane farmers in the Herbert area.
• Training and extension delivery focus will be on sugarcane farming systems, crop nutrition, crop agronomy, pest and disease management, farming practices and improvements that address farm productivity and profitability, while minimising environmental impacts. Extension will be through various
extension methodologies.
• The Extension Agronomist will work with growers and other industry stakeholders to gain adoption of priority practices addressing farm
productivity and profitability and downstream water quality.

HCPSL Laser Levelling Contractors Meeting

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Invitation to Herbert Laser Levelling Contractors

To discuss the future of the HCPSL Laser Levelling service.

Date: Wednesday 16th March 2022.

Time: 1pm to 2pm.

Location: HCPSL Office, 181 Fairford Road Ingham.

RSVP: To Lawrence Di Bella via

For further information, view the invitation below.

Christmas Holiday Availability

Posted by Sandra Coco

From the team here at The Herbert Cane Productivity Services we would like to wish the growers of The Herbert Region a “Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year for 2022”!

Over the Holiday Period (29th – 31st December) it would be advisable to call ahead to ensure one of the HCPSL Staff is in the office to attend your enquiry – 47761808/47765660

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)

Find out more about our services

Posted by Rusty

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited (HCPSL) is a not-for-profit organization established to provide agricultural technical services and support to the Herbert Sugarcane industry. The key focus of the company is to drive productivity and sustainability outcomes for the local industry. Use the menu above to navigate through our services and get in touch for more information.

HCPSL Newsletters

Posted by Rusty

Have you missed an edition of the HCPSL newsletter? With the upgrade of our website, all future HCPSL Newsletters will now be archived online. To view the latest newsletter or visit the archive, simply visit our Newsletter page via the main menu, under NEWS & REPORTS at the top of the page.