Cane farm­ers eye im­prove­ments

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALL­BONE

SUG­AR­CANE farm­ers from the re­gion rolled up to the Moss­man Agri­cul­tural Ser­vices shed last week to dis­cuss strate­gies to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity next sea­son.

Af­ter a dif­fi­cult 10 years of low in­come and heavy rain­fall on their crops, lo­cal grow­ers are strug­gling to feel con­fi­dent about the fu­ture of their in­dus­try.

Moss­man Agri­cul­tural Ser­vices man­ager Daryl Parker said a va­ri­ety of topics were dis­cussed at the meet­ing to in­form lo­cal farm­ers.

“It is an in­for­ma­tive meet­ing for all lo­cal grow­ers which we have about three to four times a year to dis­cuss pro­duc­tiv­ity, fu­ture projects and re­search,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously we want to pro­duce more cane so I guess the in­for­ma­tion part is let­ting grow- ers know about the projects, ser­vices and re­sults in­volved in the sugar cane in­dus­try.”

“One of the projects is re­search­ing into dif­fer­ent farm­ing meth­ods, farm­ing ma­chin­ery and in par­tic­u­lar ma­chin­ery for spread­ing mud.”

Grower Drew Wat­son said the Dou­glas re­gion’s pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els could def­i­nitely be im­proved.

“The Moss­man Mill has had a tough few years and so farm­ers were get­ting less for their cane and we have had a bad run with the weather.

“So I think there is a lack of con­fi­dence in the fu­ture of the sugar cane in­dus­try and I think it needs some fi­nan­cial sup­port,” he said.

“Con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try is slowly com­ing back but this year it rained so much it damp­ened ev­ery­one’s spir­its be­cause we couldn’t do the work we wanted to do.”

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