Visit the Mirriwinni farm of Steven Bonso to look at his subsurface drainage and the best practice farming methods that boost his soil health and reduce fertiliser applications. One tactic is adding mill ash using the CANEGROWERS Cairns Region banded spreader, a resource available to all members in the region.
The Rossi family is making and using big piles of compost on their Aloomba sugarcane farm to reduce their need for inorganic nitrogen fertiliser and the risk of it leaving the farm and affecting the Great Barrier Reef. The compost is also improving the condition of their soil, the way nature intended. Funding from the Australian Government's Reef Trust IV programme was used to purchase machinery to set up the system.
Take a look around the sugarcane farm Gerry Deguara works with his sons at Eton in the Mackay district. Controlled traffic (GPS), legume fallow cropping and green trash blanketing are boosting soil health and productivity while proving that economic drivers and environmental drivers do line up.
With a lifetime of cane farming experience, Paul Gregory has a clear understanding of the social contract binding farmers as custodians of the land. An advocate of Smartcane BMP, Paul shows how he manages water flow to keep nutrients and soil on his Cairns region farm, protecting the marine environment.
Take a walk with Drew Watson on his Mossman sugarcane farm to see how he works to protect the Great Barrier Reef while growing a healthy crop. A nutrient management plan, put together with the help of Smartcane BMP facilitator Rebecca Stone, is a key part of his strategy.
Growing sugarcane in the lee of Queensland’s second highest mountain creates challenges but ones that Angle Mustafa has used creativity and innovation to overcome. In an area which gets enormous amounts of rain, land and water management strategies are essential. His minimum till system includes raking trash off the stools to encourage sprouting. Reef Rescue has helped him purchase a stool splitter and fertiliser box and a new spray rig to reduce the chemical run off from his farm. He’s applied for funding to replace open drains with pipes in sandy beds.
This episode of the CANEGROWERS Virtual Bus Tour is all about soil health in the Mackay region. Grower Lindsay Neilsen uses farm practices to nurture the microbes in his soil and is part of the CANEGROWERS enhanced efficiency fertiliser project, known as EEF60. Gradual release products are being compared with more conventional fertilisers at different rates. The trials are being run with Queensland Government and Sugar Research Australia support.
Joe Zappala, from Innisfail, talks about targeting application of nutrients using modifications supported by the Australian Reef Government Programme. Nutrients are applied underground to ensure they are delivered right to the root zone. Joe also uses a variable rate spray controller to improve accuracy in spray rates and efficiency in application. It's a win for the environment and productivity.
Take a ride with Chris Russo to see how technology is reducing fertiliser use on his Isis district cane farm. He's using a high clearance tractor to put a liquid nutrient mix underground in a targeted approach that combines GPS and information from a drone. Chris is the winner of the 2017 Reef Awards Nutrient Management category for his innovative approach.