Demonstration Farms Project

The Herbert demonstration farms project was funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and supported by Terrain NRM, TropWATER and Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd (HCPSL).

The Herbert Demonstration Farm project began in 2009 and was concluded in 2013. This project compares two classes of management systems on adjacent blocks that have similar soils as well as environmental conditions over a fallow period to a second ratoon crop.

The project is designed to intensively monitor economic, agronomic and biophysical (water quality) components between a Conventional farming (CF) versus a Best Management Practice (BMP) farming system. The primary aim of the demonstration farm project was to showcase alternative farming systems, identify knowledge gaps, and inform future research and investment.

The demonstration farm project also acted as a platform for extension based learning and a forum to initiate discussion in regards to farming systems and elements of farming systems. This includes the efficacy of alternative farming technologies and techniques such as zonal tillage methods, mound planting, sub-surface fertiliser application, electromagnetic and yield mapping.

It must be emphasised that the site was set up as a demonstration site and not a multi-replicated and statistically rigorous trial. A degree of caution is required when interpreting the data because the treatments are single replicates. However the site met the purpose it was established for, which was to be a demonstration site for industry to observe new farming practices first hand.