Food and Fibre

Reef Rescue: Improving farm efficiency

Thirty years ago, Isis cane farmer Mark Mammino’s father told him that there wasn’t much more they could be doing to improve their farming efficiency. That was before the widespread adoption of green cane harvesting. While the farming business has long enjoyed the associated benefits of trash retention, much like most of the district, these days Mark and his wife Deran continue to look for any opportunity available to improve their farming efficiency and management of their 300 ha of cane land around Childers. Continue Reading…

Banana farming at Bartle Frere: minimising sediment and nutrient runoff into the Russell River

With the magnificent Mount Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain, in the background, the banana farm Brad Finch manages near Mirriwinni in Far North Queensland is a particularly striking property.   A banana farm for the last thirty years and a cane farm for an even longer period before that, the issue of sediment and nutrient runoff has long been a concern.  With the Russell River bordering a significant section of the 70 hectare farm, sediment and nutrient runoff makes its way in to the river and possibly downstream, in to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Brad Finch made the decision to change his lifestyle two years ago, swapping commercial fishing off the coast for banana farming.  As soon as he began managing this farm, Brad started planning to upgrade to farming practices that help prevent erosion and better manage the health of the soil.  One of the changes he was keen to make was to carry out contouring of the rows of banana plants. Continue Reading…

14 Million Hectares of Healthier Land for Food and Fibre

Australia’s 56 regional natural resource management groups work have helped land managers improve the way they manage more than 14 million hectares of land. There’s a lot happening in our backyard.


New farmer on the right path to protect our reef

While land around Capella in the Fitzroy Basin provides perfect conditions to grow grains, farming is a challenging career path.

Local man Andy Hawken is proving it is never too late to start – after living in the area for over 20 years he recently acquired a share-farming block and began his journey to become a farmer.

New to the grains industry his neighbours suggested he contact Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Co-operative (CHRRUP), a sub region of Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA).

As a result he joined FBA’s innovative training program designed to assist grain growers to adopt best management practices, Grains BMP. Continue Reading…

Improved Farming System: A Case Study

Third and fourth generation sugarcane farmers John and Phil Deguara began converting their Beaconsfield and Brightly farms to a Controlled Traffic System in 2003.

Reef Rescue helped the pair to finish modifying their equipment to suit the system, and purchase and install a Viper Pro Variable Rate Control Unit to improve the efficiency and accuracy of nutrient and chemical applications across the farms.

Continue Reading…

Corn and beans just got straighter

Mulgowie Farming Company is working on getting more out of the land without compromising its health.

Australian owned and operated, Mulgowie Farming Company has been growing sweet corn, fresh beans and other vegetables for almost 30 years.

It was started by the Emerick family in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, and now has 400 staff working 5,000 hectares in Queensland and Victoria. Mulgowie sells direct to supermarkets, agents and markets.

Continue Reading…

Trials endorse WeedSeeker cost-saving benefits

CENTRAL Queensland grain growers are showing a keen interest in the cost-saving advantages offered by state-of-the-art WeedSeeker technology.

WeedSeeker has gained a tick of approval following on-going regional weed control research trials.

Judging by the avalanche of growers’ questions, there is no doubt that WeedSeeker spray demonstrations at five on-property grower meetings has allayed doubts and buoyed enthusiasm.

The trials and field days are part of a project to investigate WeedSeeker technology supported by Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) with funding from Reef Rescue.

Continue Reading…

ABC-TV’s Landline talks up the positives of Reef Rescue

More than a quarter of a million people tuned into ABC’s Landline program when it featured a special reef and agriculture segment – with over half the viewers being city dwellers.

Landline’s story focused on the Federal Government’s Reef Rescue incentive program compared with recent regulation brought in by the Queensland Government.

Landline was inspired to follow up on the story, after they had seen segments from CANEGROWERS ‘Virtual Bus Tour’ project.  Their intentions were to show the Landline audience some of the technology and good farming practices they had seen on the short cane movies.

The strong message for the Landline program, which has been covering agricultural issues across Australia since 1991, is that there are impressive things going on in cane.

Continue Reading…

Industry partnership proves right approach

A partnership approach has seen Grains BMP (Best Management Practice) adopted quickly and successfully across Queensland. Grains BMP was developed collaboratively between Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries, AgForce, and Queensland’s regional natural resource management groups in order to help producers benchmark their grain growing practices against best practice industry standards.

A successful Grains BMP pilot in 2008 with central Queensland growers coordinated by Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) laid the foundation for the program’s success. Continue Reading…