Farmer is top Doug

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

AF­TER grow­ing cane since 1969, a ca­reer that has not been with­out its set­backs, Moss­man farmer Doug Ras­mussen has been given the pres­ti­gious Ru­ral Award for his con­tri­bu­tion to sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices.

At a gala func­tion at­tended by 300 farm­ers, at the Bris­bane Con­ven­tion and Exhibition Cen­tre on Fri­day night, Mr Ras­mussen was awarded the 2012 Queens­land Premier’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Award for his Sug­ar­cane Sus­tain­abil­ity Project.

Just two of the many ini­tia­tives he has put in place in­clude the cre­ation of sed­i­ment traps on his farm, shift­ing top­soil and laser lev­el­ling each block when it be­comes va­cant so rain­fall trav­els slowly and evenly to the sed­i­ment trap and fol­lows the con­tour­ing of blocks to stop ero­sion.

He said the ad­van­tage of laser-lev­el­ling pin­points the lo­ca­tion of the sed­i­ment traps so any top­soil washed away dur­ing the wet sea­son is cap­tured and can be ap­plied to the ar­eas which are sit­u­ated lower.

He said the use of fil­ter mud has re­duced fer­tiliser use by 25 per cent.

Mr Ras­mussen is also tri­alling the use of a prod­uct called Twin N which is an or­ganic fer­tiliser which he has ap­plied to just 50 acres of his prop­erty.

“I have to stress that this is only a test sample of crop­ping at the mo­ment but it ap­pears that it could have a wider ap­pli­ca­tion,” he said.

“But we have only been us­ing this prod­uct since last De­cem­ber and I will ap­ply it to an­other 50 acres this com­ing sea­son and con­tinue to mon­i­tor its ef­fec­tive­ness over costly ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers.

“And that is what this is about re­ally, cut­ting our costs be­cause we can only do any­thing with the re­sources that we have.

“And by do­ing this we have also found a bet­ter and more sus­tain­able way to farm.”

Photo by PAUL BUT­LER

Top dog: Win­ner of cane farm­ing sus­tain­abil­ity Doug Ras­mussen with his award.

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