Clever cane grower making the most of innovation

MODERN FARMING: Jeff Plath records data needed to be part of the bigger agricultural picture.
MODERN FARMING: Jeff Plath records data needed to be part of the bigger agricultural picture. Max Fleet BUNJEF

FARNSFIELD cane grower Jeff Plath is proving he uses best management practice in farming, and is encouraging others to do so.

Mr Plath is one of the first growers in the Isis district to register for the Smartcane Best Management Practice (Smartcane BMP) program to become accredited.

The voluntary program is being rolled out by Canegrowers after securing $3.5 million from the State Government, which will give cane growers an opportunity to demonstrate that they are land managers and adopt best management practices.

It follows the heavy layer of regulation which has burdened the industry in recent times.

Mr Plath welcomed the program and recommended other growers sign up to Smartcane BMP.

"Farmers are under the microscope constantly these days so it's been a very good initiative by Canegrowers to highlight that farmers are showing the broader community that we are using best management practice," Mr Plath said.

"It highlights that cane growers are responsible on their farms and to the environment."

Mr Plath said better management practices included a number of initiatives such as the implementation of sediment traps, legume rotation crop, using less tillage and green cane harvesting.

"Most farmers cut green these days and only apply nutrients to industry standards," Mr Plath said.

"It's a matter of registering and getting the documentation together to become accredited. Obviously it's not going to be done overnight."

Canegrowers Isis manager Wayne Stanley is facilitating the program locally, assisting growers to become accredited in three key modules, including soil, health and plant nutrition management, pest, disease and weed management, and drainage and irrigation management.

Mr Stanley is hopeful other growers will follow Mr Plath's lead and register.

"In line with State Government policy of reducing red tape and regulations, the Canegrowers Smartcane BMP is a system which is about improving growers' bottom line and one we can use to market our sugar to the world," Mr Stanley said.

"The Smartcane BMP will help Australia maintain its competitive edge in the increasingly competitive world market and at home helps demonstrate that our growers are responsible land managers by adopting best management practices. Being able to show we are productive and sustainable producers of quality sugar is becoming increasingly important to our customers and the Smartcane BMP is the way to do this."

"Smartcane BMP is a system being adopted throughout Queensland and every grower is encouraged to become part of the movement to take back control over how our growers farm."

Mr Stanley said in the Isis cane supply area, Canegrowers Isis has made a commitment to have 40 growers signed up by June 30 this year.

 For more information contact Canegrowers Isis.

Topics:  agriculture farming

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