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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Welcome to HCPSL

Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

Welcome to HCPSL

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd.

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Press Release: PERMIT GRANTED TO USE RATOFF® FROM HELICOPTER OR DRONE

Posted by Ellie McVeigh
Photo above: Rat baiting of sugarcane with a drone in the Herbert 2022.

HCPSL was notified by CANEGROWERS on the 1st of December 2022 that the Permit to Allow minor use of a registered Agvet Chemical Product for the control of Australian Native Ground rats in lodged sugarcane crops has been granted (permit number PER92695) on the 30/11/2022. The permit is valid for the period 30 November 2022- 30 November 2027. It allows aerial application of RATOFF sachets into lodged cane from a helicopter or drone.

There are now 2 permits in place for rat management that have been approved in the last 2 months:

Conditions under the APVMA permit:

The HCPSL Company Manager would like to thank Mick Quirk (CANEGROWERS) who coordinated the permit submission documentation and meeting with key governmental staff concerning this matter.

For more information concerning the permit, please contact: Lawrence Di Bella- HCPSL Company Manager on 0448084252.

Photo above: Helicopter rat baiting in the Herbert region 2022.

Supporting agencies:

Download a copy of the Press Release here:

Press release: DEAD LEAVES IN SRA36 – NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

In the past week you may have noticed dead leaves in your young SRA36 cane crops. Dr. Rob Magarey (SRA Pathologist), HCPSL Company Manager- Lawrence Di Bella, SRA plant breeding team members Dr. Fengduo Hu, Juan Briceno and Linda Di Maggio spent Wednesday the 16th of November in the field inspecting blocks of SRA36 across the district.

On inspecting impacted fields, it was noted a physical damage of the top uncurled top leaves of SRA36 was present; often in the 3rd uncurled leaf. The damage consisted of leaf senescence and yellowing of the tissue of the leaf blade, occurring as a stripe in one or both sides of the midrib, and other times the whole leaf blade. No callus or necrotic line separating live tissue from dead tissue was observed, ruling out a reaction of the plant to a pathogen or parasite. New leaves continue to grow unaffected in the inspected canes; the new leaves and the whole plant did not show any signs of further damage.

Above: Note the yellow senescence on the leaf in a cane stool.
Above: Note the 3rd unfolded leaf that has yellow senescence.

The senescence of the leaves in the SRA36, was due a climatic event that occurred 3 weeks earlier. At that time a number of high dew mornings and fog, followed by high daily temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius in field occurred, with an actively growing crop making it an ideal situation for crop damage. In this particular situation, the soft leaf tissue in the growing point had water present (due to the fog) and the high temperatures experienced during the day caused the plant tissue cells to become damaged. As the plant continued to grow these damaged leaves elongate and become fully unfolded exposing the damaged leaves.

It is anticipated that no yield loss will occur, and the variety will continue to grow to its full potential.

If you see anything usual in the field at any time, please contact HCPSL on 47761808.

Wanting to know more on mud?

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Herbert grower, Andrew Irvin explains how applying mud has been beneficial on his farm.

Interested to know if mill by-products have a fit on you farm?

Contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808 to speak to a Project CaNE Team member.

Visual storytelling: Kim Kleidon

Understanding Mill Mud: Sugar Impurity to Soil Ameliorant

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

As part of the recent focus on mill by-products, HCPSL Project CaNE and Project Catalyst staff toured Victoria Mill to develop a stronger understanding of the mill’s operation and generation of mill by-products.

The tour covered the entire process of sugar extraction, highlighting various processes that impact on the quantity and composition of mill mud.

This was the first mill tour for Project CaNE Extension Agronomist Bailey Kilpatrick who appreciated the opportunity to view the milling process from start to finish.

“You can see the effort the Mill is making to extract as much sugar as they can and clean it [from impurities such as mud] as well as they can,’” he shared.

Bailey was interested to see the clarification process with the addition of flocculant and was surprised by the quantity of mud being processed at once through vacuum filtration systems. The automation and chemical inputs such as lime required to keep the juice flowing through evenly also generated interest from the tour group.

Reflecting on the tour, Bailey noted:

“There is actually a lot that goes into getting the mud extracted, it’s not a simple process.

Press Release: PERMIT GRANTED TO CULL NATIVE RATS

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

HCPSL has been granted a Damage Mitigation Permit (permit number WA0047339) on the 11/11/2022, for the culling of rats in Herbert sugarcane fields from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES).

Under the permit Herbert River canefarmers will be permitted to cull the Grassland melomys (Melomys burtoni) and Cane rat (Rattus sordidus) found in sugarcane fields. The registered rat baits available to the industry are Ratoff® and Racumin®.

Conditions under the permit:

The HCPSL Company Manager would like to thank Rod Nielson (HCPSL staffer) and Mick Quirk (CANEGROWERS Brisbane) who have assisted with the permit submission documentation and meeting with key DES staff.

For more information concerning the permit, please contact Lawrence Di Bella- HCPSL Company Manager on 0448084252

Keeping Mud in Mind

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Following the informative Mill By-product Analysis presentation in July of last year, the Project CaNE team recently held a Mill By-product infield demonstration with Agro Group showcasing the latest technology and methods for applying mill-by products.

Extension Agronomist Graeme Holzberger shared how the workshop was a valuable opportunity for growers to see first-hand how the products are applied.

“To actually see the truck applying it out and have Kristen there to show the process and explain how to manage it…answered a lot of questions.

Discussions with Project CaNE Extension Agronomists on the day touched on various topics of grower interest, including storing and managing the product once it arrives on farm, application methods such as banding, and the implications for fertiliser rates following different by-product applications.

“One of the growers already uses a product on one of his farms. He was looking at sending mud down to another farm a bit further from the mill. He was concerned about the different environment, different soil type and how that might change the effectiveness of the mud.

Another grower is from the Coolbie Rollingstone district, has never had access to the product but was keen to give it a go. Being there and seeing the process and having those questions answered, he is now considering taking up the practice.

– Graeme Holzberger, HCPSL Extension Agronomist

Have any questions of your own around mill mud or ash? Contact HCSPL (07) 4776 1808 to speak with an Agronomist. To learn more about Clear as Mud demonstrations under Project CaNE, visit the HCPSL website: https://hcpsl.com/current-projects/project-cane-tm/

Are you considering applying mill by-products?

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Jeff Cantamessa is investigating mill by-products under Project CaNE’s ‘Clear As Mud’ Program.

‘Clear As Mud’ demonstrations aim to gain insight into how new application methods can improve profitability and productivity for growers, as well as improve water quality outcomes in the local area.

Want to know more? Contact HCPSL on (07) 4776 1808 to speak to a Project CaNE Team member.

Visual storytelling: Kim Kleidon

HCPSL Board members and Company Manager head south to investigate new technologies.

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

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.

HCPSL Board members and staff at a grain’s property outside of Dalby.
Ellie McVeigh in front of cotton bales at the farm in which James Formosa is employed.

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.            

Photo above (left to right): Ellie McVeigh, James Formosa, Greg Erkilla and Gino Zatta in front of a Swarm Farm spray unit, near Dalby.

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.

Photo above (left to right): Shane Fitzgerald, Lawrence Di Bella, Greg Erkilla, Dr. Anthony Young, Gino Zatta and Dr. Neil Wilson at Metagen, Gatton.

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.

Gino Zatta and Lawrence Di Bella in front of a large ripper used by the Western Australia grains industry at the Gessner factory in Toowoomba.
Tissue culture cane grown at SRA Indooroopilly ready for shipment to regional propagation sites.

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.

JCU Student, Ethan Waters Receives awards for his innovative work into RSD detection.

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Congratulations to Ethan Waters the winner of 2022 C.N. Barton Medal for best JCU engineering thesis seminar. He received the award on Thursday evening of the 27th of October at JCU. Additionally, Ethan was the runner-up for the Engineers Australia | Institute of Engineering Technology Student Seminar Competition QLD Finals for Software, Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He received the award on Wednesday night, the 19th of October, at the Engineers Australia office in Brisbane.

Ethan was the James Cook University representative, presenting his thesis on “Sugarcane Health Monitoring and Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) Detection with Freely Available Multispectral Satellites”.

Ethan thanked Engineers Australia and the Institute of Engineering Technology for hosting the events. He also thanked his JCU supervisors, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi and Carla Ewels, for their guidance and the team from HCPSL who assisted him with his studies.

Ethan will continue to work (as a JCU student) with HCPSL staff to progress the research he has undertaken into RSD detection.

Once again congratulations Ethan, your dedication and hard work has paid off.

Download a copy of the Press Release below:

Shed Meetings October 2022: Rat Management

Posted by Ellie McVeigh

Recently, HCPSL held a series of Shed Meetings across the district. Due to the number of rats and significant crop damage across the Herbert, rat management was a key focus of these meetings. The HCPSL team discussed developing an Integrated Rat Monitoring Approach to effectively manage the pest in the Herbert.

Additionally, Aaron Davis from Tropwater (JCU) also presented Water Quality information from throughout the district. This data is being collected as part of HCPSL’s Project CaNE.

The meetings were well attended in all locations. Thank you to all growers who attended, HCPSL values grower feedback and discussion on these important issues.

For further information on the topics discussed at the recent shed meetings, please contact HCPSL (07) 4776 1808

HCPSL