Water­ways re­port card re­leased in trop­ics

Central and North Rural Weekly - - WEATHER / INSIDE -

FAR North Queens­land sug­ar­cane grow­ers should stand proud with the re­lease of a re­port card on the con­di­tion of the water­ways of the Wet Trop­ics re­gion, Cane­grow­ers said.

“Eight of the nine catch­ments be­tween the Dain­tree and Her­bert rivers have been graded as Good (B) or Very Good (A) in this re­port card,” Cane­grow­ers CEO Dan Gal­li­gan said.

“That is a great out­come for the year to June 2017 and a recog­ni­tion of the com­mit­ment of the sug­ar­cane in­dus­try,” Mr Gal­li­gan said.

“This re­gion is home to around 40 per cent of Queens­land’s sug­ar­cane farm­land where grow­ers have em­braced best prac­tice on their farms to im­prove the qual­ity of the wa­ter flow­ing to the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“Only one wa­ter­way was given a C rat­ing and that was be­cause there was in­suf­fi­cient data for wa­ter qual­ity.”

Cane­grow­ers is fo­cussed on the sug­ar­cane in­dus­try be­ing an im­por­tant part of the fu­ture of the re­gion’s econ­omy, com­mu­ni­ties and en­vi­ron­ment.

“A key part of our com­mit­ment is meet­ing com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions and we are see­ing huge pos­i­tive change in the in­dus­try,” Mr Gal­li­gan said.

“We’re very proud of that change and it is heart­en­ing to see it con­trib­ute to re­sults such as the as­sess­ments in this re­port card.”

In the Wet Trop­ics re­gion 80 per cent of the sug­ar­cane farm­ing busi­nesses have bench­marked their prac­tices in the in­dus­try’s Smart­cane BMP pro­gram while 30 per cent have moved through an in­de­pen­dent au­dit to be­come ac­cred­ited.

Best prac­tices in­volve manag­ing cane pad­docks and land­scapes to avoid sed­i­ment loss, min­imise the need for her­bi­cides and tar­get their use when nec­es­sary, use the op­ti­mum fer­tiliser rate and ap­ply it in a way that keeps it in the crop.

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