Archive for the ‘Project Catalyst’ Category

Project CaNE and Catalyst share knowledge with local students

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Earlier this week, projects under the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program (LHWQP) presented to Ingham State High School Ag students.

HCPSL staff members from Project CaNE and Project Catalyst had the opportunity to discuss and share knowledge with around 30 Year 10 and 11 students studying Agriculture.

The Project Catalyst team discussed soil testing, in particular how soil pH affects crop growth and nutrient availability. Students were eager to get practically involved by carrying out pH testing with a simple in-field testing kit.

Above: Ingham State High Ag Students conduct a in-field pH test.
Above: HCPSL Project Catalyst team members Bethany Donker and Megan Zahmel discuss soil pH with students

Project CaNE, together with TropWATER provided students an understanding on sugarcane crop nutrition as well as water quality. Aaron Davis from TropWATER gave students insight into water quality monitoring and sampling. 

Additionally, HCPSL & Project CaNE GIS Officer Rod Nielson showcased the use of drone technology in agriculture and how precision agriculture is being applied to the Herbert cane industry.

Thanks to Ingham State High for hosting and LHWQP Program Coordinator Carola Bradshaw for organizing a great event. HCPSL value the opportunity to share knowledge and discuss topics with passionate local ag students. 

Project Catalyst

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

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.

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.

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!

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    

Project Catalyst Forum a hit with growers and industry

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Last week, the Project Catalyst Forum was held in Cairns. Project Catalyst aims to support innovative growers in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, and Mackay Whitsundays regions. The project has a partnership with over 150 growers who are leading the way in cutting-edge management practices.

After a 1 year hiatus, the Forum returned in 2023 with a focus on growing ideas and advancing best practice. The forum featured grower guest speakers, as well as speakers from GBRF, the Reef Restoration Foundation, QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Cultivate Farms, Coca-Cola, and Evolution Industries. While, other presentations delivered by on-ground service providers, like HCPSL, highlighted Catalyst grower trials and projects.

HCPSL Extension Agronomists, Megan Zahmel and Bethany Donker lead Project Catalyst in the Herbert. Megan and Bethany along will Herbert Catalyst growers delivered an insightful presentation on current innovation trials in the Herbert. These Herbert trials have key focus on precision agriculture. Megan and Bethany discussed zonal imidacloprid, variable rate phosphorus and drone technology for mapping and monitoring weeds.

Above: HCPSL Extension Agronomists Bethany Bonker and Megan Zahmel
Above: Bethany Bonker and Megan Zahmel present at the 2023 Project Catalyst Forum in Cairns.

Ellie McVeigh, HCPSL Extension Agronomist and grower Hayden Di Bella discussed the Cultivate Farms project. Ellie presented on the project’s activities, challenges, barriers, and successes. While Hayden gave growers a unique insight into his experience in the project.

Above: HCPSL Extension Agronomist Ellie McVeigh, Herbert grower
Hayden Di Bella and Cultivate Farms founder Sam Marwood.

Day 2 of the Forum involved a field trip to the FNQ Food Incubator, Mt Uncle Distillery and Agave plantation, as well as North Qld Tropical Seeds.

The Project Catalyst Forum proved valuable for both growers and industry. The forum provided attendees with the opportunity to learn more about innovative practices, discuss industry issues, share ideas, and ask questions of their peers and industry experts. 

A digital copy of the 2023 Forum Magazine can be found on the Project Catalyst page of the HCPSL website:

Herbert Growers Keen To Improve Their Knowledge Around Pesticide Use

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

On Wednesday, HCPSL’s Project CaNE team hosted a ‘Smarter Pesticide Use’ workshop. Over 80 growers from across the Herbert came along to learn and discuss pesticides available to industry and how to use them appropriately on their farms. Highlights from the day included presentations from Associate Professor Michael Warne (Director, Reef Catchments Science Partnership) on the Pesticide Decision Support Tool and Senior Reef Project Officer, Andrew Ygosse (DAF) on changes to the regulations.

Throughout the day, numerous industry experts presented on a range of topics. From pesticides in waterways, to managing drift, pest control using drones, crop ripening and new herbicide technologies.

HCPSL and the Project CaNE team would like to thank all growers who attended the workshop, shared ideas and discussed experiences around pesticide use.

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

HCPSL Walk & Talk 2023!

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

HCPSL invites you to the 2023 Annual Walk & Talk!

Date: Wednesday 15th March 2023

Commencing: 8am to 2pm

Location: HCPSL & SRA Office, 181 Fairford Road Ingham

Displays and Presentations will include:

RSVP Friday 10th March:

For catering purposes, please RVSP to HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808

Understanding Mill Mud: Sugar Impurity to Soil Ameliorant

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

As part of the recent focus on mill by-products, HCPSL Project CaNE and Project Catalyst staff toured Victoria Mill to develop a stronger understanding of the mill’s operation and generation of mill by-products.

The tour covered the entire process of sugar extraction, highlighting various processes that impact on the quantity and composition of mill mud.

This was the first mill tour for Project CaNE Extension Agronomist Bailey Kilpatrick who appreciated the opportunity to view the milling process from start to finish.

“You can see the effort the Mill is making to extract as much sugar as they can and clean it [from impurities such as mud] as well as they can,’” he shared.

Bailey was interested to see the clarification process with the addition of flocculant and was surprised by the quantity of mud being processed at once through vacuum filtration systems. The automation and chemical inputs such as lime required to keep the juice flowing through evenly also generated interest from the tour group.

Reflecting on the tour, Bailey noted:

“There is actually a lot that goes into getting the mud extracted, it’s not a simple process.

EM Mapping – Getting the most out of your map

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Last month, the HCPSL Project Catalyst & Project Cane teams hosted two EM Mapping workshops. The workshops aimed at ‘Getting the most out of Your Map’ by providing growers with a better understanding for the EM data collection, map interpretation and how they can utilise maps effectively with guidance from their agronomic advisor.

Growers enjoyed the practical approach of the workshop as they worked through two case study scenarios that dealt with different block conditions identified through EM mapping and strategic soil testing. The case studies demonstrated the value of EM mapping for cost savings when selecting soil test sites and applying amendments.

EM Mapping is offered as a Fee for Service by HCPSL. For further information visit the HCPSL website Or contact the HCPSL office (07) 4776 1808