INVITATION SENT: Sugarcane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine.
INVITATION SENT: Sugarcane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine. Peter Carruthers

Growers invited to cane trials

PROSERPINE growers and harvester drivers have been invited to take part in 2018 harvesting demonstration trials.

Sugarcane growers and harvester operators in the central region can see first-hand how they could avoid losing valuable sugar from mechanical harvesting.

Trials over many years have shown potential losses of sugarcane and juice (sugar) from common harvester settings and in the 2017 season similar results were obtained in the first phase of this project.

As part of a major integrated program to help optimise harvest efficiency, Sugar Research Australia is offering sugarcane harvesting groups the chance to see this research for themselves, in their own conditions and with their own machinery.

According to project leader Phil Patane, SRA is targeting about 10per cent of the harvest groups in each region for the coming 2018 harvest season.

These volunteer groups will collaborate to run a demonstration trial on one of the group's farms and review the results to decide whether measures need to be taken to reduce losses.

"This project is designed to answer questions growers and harvester operators have about cane and juice loss with actual data and hard economics, specific to individual harvesting groups,” Mr Patane said.

"It will provide groups with the information to help optimise harvesting and ongoing support through facilitated meetings and access to information.”

SRA will run the trials to international scientific standards and will co-ordinate the activity with milling members.

"In the 2018 season SRA is looking for about 60 groups to participate statewide,” MrPatane said.

Tully grower Chris Condon was an eager participant in the 2017 trials because he wanted to examine his local harvesting conditions and practices to optimise his harvest.

"Now we've got hard data on our own conditions to base the discussion around,” he said.

Growers or harvester operators who would like to be involved are invited to phone Carol Norris on 0459861482.

The project is funded with assistance from SRA and the Australian Government's Rural R&D for Profit program.


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