HCPSL Board members and Company Manager head south to investigate new technologies.
Last week HCPSL Board members Gino Zatta and Greg Erkilla and HCPSL Company Manager Lawrence Di Bella visited research facilities, machinery manufacturers and other industries to investigate new technologies and equipment that could be used by HCPSL and the Herbert cane industry.
The group ventured in cotton and grain country visiting HCPSL Extension Officer- Ellie McVeigh, who now resides near Dalby with her partner James Formosa. Ellie continues to work for HCPSL on Project CaNE and Cultivate Farms projects, delivering nutrient management plans for Herbert growers and supporting other activities in which the company is undertaking.
The group got to view firsthand Swarm Farm’s robotic driverless spray units which operate on the cotton farm in which James is employed. The group also got to review other grain and cotton technologies and operations during the visit.
On the way to Dalby and Toowoomba the group visited the Metagen labs and process facilities in Gatton. At this site the HCPSL team met with Dr Anthony Young (University of Queensland lecturer and scientist) and Shane Fitzgerald (owner/ Director of Metagen) and his team to review the LSB RSD testing lab and general company operations.
The HCPSL team also visited Gessner in Toowoomba to investigate small billet planters that could possibly be used to plant HCPSL approved seed plots into the future. At this stage HCPSL is still considering what machinery options it may use to plant its Approved Seed plots into the future given labour shortages and the requirement to plant hot water treated cane.
When back in Brisbane, the HCPSL team visit Drs. Clair Bolton and Chuong Ngo at SRA Indooroopilly to view firsthand the SRA RSD and tissue culture labs. The tissue culture propagation process was a real eye opener for both Greg and Gino. From one sugarcane meristem many tissue culture plants can be generated for industry use. HCPSL obtains annually tissue culture plants from SRA for Herbert growers to propagate on their own farms.
The final visit for the team was to meet with Dr. Weijin Wang (Queensland government soil scientist) at Queensland government’s Ecoscience Precinct in Brisbane. The team discussed opportunities to work together in the future and visit the largest soils and water laboratory in the southern hemisphere. HCPSL has had a long working relationship with Dr. Weijin Wang, working jointly on projects to better understand nitrogen loss pathways, cover crops and enhanced efficiency fertilisers. Dr Wang’s team does the research, with HCPSL Extension Agronomy staff taking the research and making practical outcomes on the ground for local farmers.
The 3-day trip was informative, thought provoking and will greatly assist HCPSL drive its operations and the local industry forward into the future.