In memorial of “The Father of the Modern Sugarcane Farming System”.
Dr. Alan Garside “The Father of the Modern Sugarcane farming system” passed away on the 10th of March 2023, in Townsville. A service to celebrate Alan’s life was held at Morley’s funeral house Townsville on the 16th of March, with family, friends, and representatives from the Australian sugarcane industry in attendance.
Alan led the Sugarcane Yield Decline Joint Venture Program, for 14 years through the early 1990- early 2000’s. This was the largest research program ever undertaken by the Australian sugarcane industry. Alan brought together a multidisciplinary team of scientists to investigate why cane yields were declining in the industry. The key findings of the program are still relevant today:
- Breaking the sugarcane monoculture with rotational crops.
- Increase soil organic matter through the use of soil amendments and cover crops.
- Management of compaction.
- Remediating soils that were constrained by factors like high levels of sodium or aluminium, low organic carbon and salinity.
- Minimizing tillage to maintain soil structure and organic matter.
- Management soil borne diseases (like Pachymetra) through the use of variety rotations.
- Management of soil pests like nematodes through break crops and other means.
Other notable agricultural successes include the development of the Northern Australian soybean industry, with Alan being involved with the selection of 2 significant varieties, one being Leichardt.
Alan was also well recognized internationally, working with agriculture industries across four continents- Australia, Asia, Africa and South America during his working career.
Alan was commissioned by HCPSL in the early 2010’s to undertake a study into the productivity constraints of the Herbert sugarcane industry.
Alan lived a fruitful and eventful life. The poem “That Man is a Success” is a testament of Alan’s life.
That Man Is A Success
That Man is a success who has lived well,
Laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women and
the love of children;
who has filled his niche and
accomplished his task;
who leaves the world
better than he found it,
who has never lacked
appreciation of Earth’s
beauty or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others,
and gave the very best he had.
Alan’s knowledge, passion for agriculture and friendship will be greatly missed.
Rest in Peace Alan.
You can share memories and photos of Alan here.