Project Uplift works with growers to adopt technology and well-established principles recommended in the SRA Farming System.
It promotes four pillars of sustainable sugarcane farming – controlled traffic, minimum tillage, break crops and green cane or trash blanket harvesting .
The project builds on years of grower innovation to tweak practices established and adapted to sugarcane farms over many years. We developed the project after listening and working with growers who are interested in adopting the SRA system but, for one or more reasons, are unable to transition to the farming principles that underpin the system.
For MSF Sugar growers who hold a current cane supply agreement, through Project Uplift, which is the name of our grower support program, there are grants and interest free loans available to assist with adopting the SRA System on their farms.
Where do I start?
As MSF Sugar Farming Systems Agronomist Damon Falvo explains, technology is a key tool in the delivery of the SRA Farming System, from land preparation to harvesting.
“Growers understand the need for good, solid land preparation to lay the foundations for the crop cycle,” Damon explained.
“Under the SRA Farming System, the utilisation of technology can deliver time and cost savings, as well as improvements to soil health and water quality. Using GPS technology, a survey can be generated showing the lay of the land and whether drains and earthworks are needed to help facilitate water run-off and minimise ponding. This approach provides the most effective drainage solution, with minimal cost.”
Damon said survey plans cost around $35/hectare and provided a preliminary plan of the site. This helps growers forecast costs, and make decisions about future works.
Project Uplift grant funding supports growers to achieve improved on-farm drainage outcomes for the SRA Farming System.
Technology plays a role
GPS technology can be used to identify a suitable and efficient block design, with a uniform row direction that promotes surface drainage. It also makes for improved planting and harvesting efficiencies.
The costs of drainage and farm re-design works are assisted through Project Uplift grants.
“From planting through to harvesting, GPS becomes an important tool to increase operational efficiencies, and control compaction damage” Damon said.
“By matching the row spacing of a crop with the wheel or track spacing of machinery used, such as a tractor or harvester, you can reduce the percentage of soil that is compacted.”
How to fund the changes
Through Project Uplift, five-year interest-free loans are available for the purchase of new equipment suited to the SRA Farming System, such as GPS Guidance and minimum tillage equipment.
Modifications to plant and equipment such as harvester elevator extensions, or widening of in-field implements are also eligible.
Cash grants of up to 50 per cent are available to cover the cost of certain farm re-design and drainage improvements
To find out more about what works are eligible, please contact one of the MSF Sugar agronomy team.
How we can help
A large number of farmers have already adapted the farming system to their farms and, since Project Uplift was introduced, more are moving forward into the SRA Farming System.
MSF Sugar’s agronomy team are at the ready to help new and established farmers transition to the SRA Farming System.
To contact one of the grower support team –
- Damon Falvo (Mulgrave/Tableland) (0439 181 018)
- John Tomlin (South Johnstone/Maryborough) (0409 114 542)
Pictured Above – MSF Sugar agronomists Noel Wright, Michael Porta and Damon Falvo.
“Under the SRA Farming System, the utilisation of technology can deliver time and cost savings, as well as improvements to soil health and water quality.” – MSF Sugar agronomist Damon Falvo.