Sugar cane is one of Australia’s biggest and thirstiest crops, lapping up millions of litres of water every year.
Now sugarcane growers in central and northern Queensland could soon be increasing their productivity and profitability thanks to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland.
After a bittersweet start to the year with farmers battling drought and heavy rain, irrigation experts are teaming up with locals to help produce bigger yields.
University of Southern Queensland project lead Michael Scobie is encouraging anyone in the sugar industry looking to refine their skills to get involved.
He’s working with a range of experts to develop the skills and capacity of local extension and service providers which will ultimately help farmers produce more cane.
“As the crushing season nears nearing its end, now is the perfect time for people to upskill,” Mr Scobie said.
“From consultants to extension officers, individuals work one-on-one with our researchers to develop their skills.
“Whether it’s assessing pumps and irrigation systems, developing new technologies or implementing better strategies to reduce water loss, it’ll mean delivering bigger profits for sugarcane growers.”
Mr Scobie said that improving irrigation and water management on the farm is one key approach to making sure that the industry remains vibrant and viable.
“The sugar industry is facing some difficult problems at the moment,” he said.
“Challenging weather conditions coupled with low sugar prices across the world has the potential to reduce productivity and profitability.”
There are around 3,000 cane growers in Queensland with the industry estimated to be worth more than $2 billion dollars.
To find out more go to www.crdc.com.au/smarter-irrigation-phase-2