Project Catalyst Forum a hit with growers and industry

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: