20 June, 2017
Celebrating 100 years of the Meringa Sugar Experiment Station
Far North Queensland is celebrating a century of sugarcane research and development activity at Meringa, south of Cairns.
The Meringa Sugar Experiment Station first began operation in 1917 as the Australian sugarcane industry’s first and only entomological research station, as part of what was then the Queensland Government’s Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations.
SRA Chairman Dr Ron Swindells said that the Meringa station was now run by Sugar Research Australia (SRA), and its focus had broadened beyond insects to major research activity including sugarcane variety development, milling research, water quality, pests and weeds, and adoption.
“The Australian sugarcane industry has a proud history of research and development that includes 100 years of research activity that has occurred at Meringa,” Dr Swindells said. “In that time, the goal has always been to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of sugarcane growers and millers, who provide vital economy activity for regional communities.”
In recognition of the achievements and history of the station, the Meringa Experiment Station was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 2014, including several historical buildings.
“The Meringa station has also been the subject of a major investment by SRA to modernise its facilities, meaning that the history of the station is preserved, but also combined with modern facilities to allow for first-class research,” Dr Swindells said.
“Meringa remains the engine room of the SRA sugarcane breeding program, where the first steps are made for creating new sugarcane varieties for growers and millers.
“It is where field cross of sugarcane varieties are made, and it is also home to our photoperiod facilities, which have been a major technological advancement for the breeding program.
“I take this opportunity to thank all of the staff who have worked at the research station over the last 100 years.
“I also thank the local community of Gordonvale for their support, as the station is also a piece of their local history.
“Our research work continues to be targeted at delivering valued solutions for a growing industry, and I hope that this work continues well into the future.”