Growers raise a glass to celebrate 2019 achievements
NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Shakira Todd with (from left) Joe Rigano, Phil Cardillo, and Sibby and Aileen Previtera.
Agricultural Extension Trainees Mika Rowston (Farmacist) and Sarah Ziebarth (NQ Dry Tropics) swap stories at the End Of Year Sugar function hosted by NQ Dry Tropics.
Pictured, from left are: Pacific Bio Sustainability Manager Wayne Di Bartolo, Pacific Bio Environmental Officer Kristian Mulholland, NQ Dry Tropics Sustainable Agriculture Manager Rob Hunt and Gavan Lamb, SRA.
The Fletchett family (from left) – Ian and Melissa, with son Tom and daughter Sarah who will shortly move to Canberra to start work with the Treasury.
NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Shakira Todd with cane growers (from left): Kevin Oar , and Mel and Peter Farr.
Cane growers Robert and Wendy Zandonadi chatting with Dan Mulcahy, Burdekin Shire Council Manager Environmental and Health Services (right).
ALL SMILES… pictured (from left) are: Hannah Russell (Agricultural Extension Trainee, hosted with Bundaberg SRA), Billie White (Farmacist), cane grower Ross Gambino and Claire Bailey (BPS)
NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Brad Holt with (from left): Nick Cvjetanovic, his father Ray and grandfather Mick Torrisi.
Ross and Jane Gambino (left) with friends John and Livia Quagliata at the NQ Dry Tropics End Of Year event.
Pictured are (from left): Anthony Contzonis, NQ Dry Tropics Sugar Team Leader Luke Malan, Bob Cambruzzi and Mark Rossato.
Clare sugar cane grower Glen Pirrone shows off the thumbs that feature prominently on a new NQ Dry Tropics banner.
Another successful year
MORE than 70 cane growers, extension staff, contractors and suppliers were hosted by NQ Dry Tropics at an End Of Year celebration in the Burdekin Theatre this week.
Sustainable Agriculture Manager at NQ Dry Tropics Rob Hunt said there was plenty to celebrate.
“This year, at the conclusion of the Reef Alliance Project, it’s worth reflecting on how much we have achieved together,” he said.
Growers have enthusiastically joined with extension staff to improve profitability on their farms at the same time improving water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon downstream, he said.
Improved irrigation efficiency and reducing runoff through the Reef Alliance Project (RAP) had a dramatic impact.
The project, which began in 2016 and concluded this year, prevented more than 90 tonnes of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) from reaching the reef.
Simultaneously, through the Reef Trust Tenders project, nitrogen applied to crops as fertiliser was reduced by more than 600,000 tonnes since 2016.
Mr Hunt said a large percentage of the growers in the Burdekin (435 growers) had been engaged in the RAP receiving almost 10,000 hours of one-on-one support.
There were 288 irrigation improvement plans, 25 nutrient management plans developed, 780ha of automated irrigation installed, and improved management practices affecting more than 20,000ha.
“The really exciting thing is that growers have realised the gains that can be made by lowering input costs and continue to push the envelope,” Mr Hunt said.
“They are improving their irrigation efficiency and exceeding their nitrogen reduction targets without sacrificing yield.”
Wetlands, Waterways and Coasts Senior Project Officer Scott Fry updated guests on the progress of two projects — the Queensland Government-funded Reducing Burdekin Sediments project, focusing mainly on Saltwater Creek, and the Australian Government-funded Bowling Green Bay Ramsar project.
Mr Fry played a short video to help explain an innovation — funded by Evolution Mining — to mechanically remove weed chokes from waterways and recycle them as compost on commercial farms.