Join Sugar Research Australia and engage with industry representatives of growers, millers, and productivity service organisations. Regional Variety Committees (RVCs) decide on the final stages of the breeding pipeline and whether a variety is released and to be grown commercially.
When: 8.30am – 12.30pm, Wednesday 5 April 2023 Where: Royal Hotel, 44/40-46 Lannercoast Street, Ingham
The votes have been counted for the 2023 HCPSLGrower Board elections.
Four candidates contested the 2023 HCPSL Grower Board elections, to fill the 3 positions on the HCPSL Board.
The results of the election are as follows:
Gino Zatta- 79 votes
Michael Pisano- 72 votes
Greg Erkkila- 66 votes
Anthony Girgenti- 55 votes
Number of informal votes- 3
Gino Zatta, Michael Pisano and Greg Erkkila are the 3 growers elected to the HCPSL Board.
HCPSL would like to thank all growers who nominated for the election.
These three growers will be joined on the Board with the 3 Mill appointed Board members:
A special thanks to our outgoing Board members: Nicole Butler (Miller Board member) and Michael Waring (Grower Board member) (who did not seek re-election) for their dedication and years of service to the company.
The vote count was supervised by Peter Timms (HCPSL Commercial Services Manager) as the Returning Officer and independent observers / vote counters Greg Shannon (Tully Sugar Productivity Manager) and Peter Sutherland (Tully Cane Productivity Services Manager).
The new Board will be installed on the 28th of March 2023.
Signed: Peter Timms, HCPSL Commercial Services Manager.
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.
Earlier this week, the Project CaNE Team met with project funders, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) – who visited Project CaNE growers across the Herbert to gain an on-ground understanding of the projects in the Lower Herbert Water Quality Program. The GBRF team, were interested to hear from Project CaNE growers who shared their experiences and thoughts, and provided valuable feedback to funders for the future.
The visit allowed the Project CaNE team and growers to share in how the project has assisted and supported growers in the Herbert to improve practices that not only benefit productivity and profitability, but also water quality.
Project CaNE™ is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
HCPSL received a visit by Queensland Senator the Hon. James McGrath last Thursday (2nd of March) to gain a better understanding of the sugarcane industry and activities undertaken by HCPSL.
The Hon. Senator James McGrath was elected to the Senate for Queensland in 2013, re-elected in 2016 and 2022. The Senator is currently the Deputy Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.
The Senator met with the HCPSL Company Manager- Lawrence Di Bella and HCPSL Administration Manager- Sue Beccaris to discuss pest and disease issues experienced by the local industry and other company related matters.
HCPSL would like to thank the Senator for taking the time to visit HCPSL in his very busy schedule.
Recently, Rod Nielson from the HCPSL team captured these great photos of a spray drone in action!
The spray drone was used in fallow at the HCPSL Stone River seed plot to target volunteer cane. The seed plot site received over 1000mm since the beginning of January, hence the HCPSL team have been unable to access the block with a tractor to carrying out spraying.
Due to the paddock conditions, size of the fallow area (<6ha) and the proximity to buildings, using a spray drone was a warranted management decision. The spray application was carried out by contractor, TravEarth Drone Services with a DJIAgras T20 with a 20Lt tank.
Utilizing this technology under appropriate circumstances, is a way Herbert growers can add another management tool to their ‘toolkit’.
If you’d like to learn more about drones or how they could assist management your farm, contact the team at HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808.
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.
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.
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.
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.