Burdekin growers flock to fertiliser efficiency program

Burdekin growers flock to fertiliser efficiency program
August 18 2016

Burdekin growers flock to fertiliser efficiency program

CANEGROWERS congratulates the growers behind 50 farms which have signed up to a crucial second phase of a fertiliser efficiency program in the Burdekin – the region with Queensland’s biggest sugarcane production figures.

“Growers have been telling us they want evidence that changing practices will be worthwhile, that they won’t lose money or production while meeting environmental objectives,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “This Burdekin nitrogen trial project is all about growers proving the science for themselves and their neighbours.”

Over the past five years, a project called RP20 involved a small number of growers who had been sceptical about the industry’s Six Easy Steps nutrient management program in rigorously testing it on their individual properties, measuring the results of following its recommendations in their unique growing conditions.

The farmers have come out the other end as enthusiastic converts to the Six Easy Steps science-based guidelines, as summarised in this video produced by project partner Sugar Research Australia http://bit.ly/2blJOrU

“Not only are the growers still running highly productive farms, they are also saving costs on fertiliser!” Mr Galligan said. “This is a win on so many levels for the industry and these growers are leaders among their peers for taking action on being involved and testing the science for themselves.”

One grower has calculated his savings to be $28,000 on 100 ha worth of fertiliser while another has estimated he is using 15 tonnes less fertiliser a year without losing any cane tonnage or sugar content.

The potential for any nutrient losses from their farms into the environment and downstream to the Great Barrier Reef has been greatly reduced. Everything being put in the fields is calculated, through the Six Easy Steps program, to be just what the cane plants need.

Following this success, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has committed funding through its reef water quality initiatives to support 100 more growers through the process under a project called RP161.

“We are delighted that all of the places in the first year of this project have been quickly taken up – 50 farms will benefit this year and more next year,” Mr Galligan said. “Six Easy Steps ties in to our industry best management practice program Smartcane BMP which, through the efforts of farmers across the industry, is delivering productivity and water quality results across all cane growing districts.

“These projects are a perfect example of growers, industry research and government all working together towards the common goal of a sustainable sugarcane industry, contributing to the Queensland economy for decades to come.”

For case studies of the growers involved in RP20, follow this link: