16 OCTOBER 2017
SWEET DEAL SUPERCHARGES CANE TRAINING
On Thursday 12 October, 17 organisations from across the Wet Tropics sugar industry joined forces to deliver over $20 million dollars of investment into boosting extension and financial support to cane growers to improve water quality running off farms.
The Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP) was made official with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Its 17 partners include all of the industry’s major players including industry bodies, productivity services, sugar research, millers, natural resource management and government organisations.
Chair Joe Marano said the concept of the partnership was a first for Australia and an important step towards coordinating efforts in the industry to meet the Reef 2050 targets.
“The spotlight is on the cane industry to accelerate improvements in land management practices. Millions of dollars of investment are coming into the region, and all 17 of our partners recognise that it makes absolute sense for us to work together,” he said.
“Our target is to achieve a more efficient use of nutrients and pesticides across 51,870 hectares of high priority cane production land.
“We will be much more effective in achieving this if we coordinate what we’re doing rather than everyone going off separately to do their own projects. We want to show that by making decisions collectively, we can achieve positive results for the reef and also deliver greater benefits to growers in terms of improved yields and profits.”
WTSIP is already responsible for delivering part of the Australian Government’s Reef Trust III program, which is focused on helping growers refine their use of nutrients and pesticides.
Mr Marano said WTSIP’s team of 10 extension officers provide a vital link to the latest information and science, enabling growers to tweak their farming practices and save money in the process.
“One of the most important benefits for growers is that we have developed a consistent approach to preparing whole of farm nutrient management plans. Many growers are finding this a really useful tool. They can work one-on-one with an extension officer to analyse soil tests and farm maps to make better decisions about fertiliser application and save on costs,” he said.
Carole Sweatman, CEO of Terrain NRM, said WTSIP’s focus on providing extension support and training is building on previous investment by the Australian Government.
“The Australian Government’s Reef Programme helped the cane industry make huge shifts in practice change over the last decade, with the matched grants funding reaching 106,446 hectares (77%) of Wet Tropics cane production land,” she said.
Sugar cane growers in the Wet Tropics are encouraged to contact their local extension officer to develop a whole of farm Nutrient Management Plan. To find out contact details go to www.wtsip.org.au/team/
Available for Interview:
Joe Marano, WTSIP Chair – Tel: 0407 160882
Carole Sweatman, CEO Terrain – Tel: 0439 743163
For more information:
Elaine Seager, Communications WTSIP – Tel: 0418 710701
Wendy Hughes, Communications Manager MSF Sugar – Tel: 0417 043 954
• Australian Cane Farmers
• Canegrowers – Cairns
• Canegrowers – Mossman
• Canegrowers – Innisfail
• Canegrowers – Tablelands
• Canegrowers – Tully
• Canegrowers – Herbert River
• Herbert Came Productivity Services Ltd (HCPSL)
• Innisfail Babinda Cane Productivity Services Ltd (IBCPSL)
• Mossman Agricultural Services
• MSF Sugar
• Sugar Research Australia
• Terrain NRM
• Tully Cane Productivity Services Ltd (TPCSL)
• Tully Sugar