9 February, 2018
SRA has achieved Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP) accreditation for its research station at Ingham in the Herbert region.
Smartcane BMP is an industry-led and government-supported program to assist sugarcane farming enterprises achieve and demonstrate best practice.
SRA CEO Mr Neil Fisher said that SRA placed a high priority on ensuring its research stations are meeting the Smartcane BMP standard for management and stewardship.
“We have already achieved Smartcane BMP accreditation for our stations at Meringa and Mackay, and are delighted that the SRA Ingham station has now joined the list,” Mr Fisher said. “SRA is also pursuing BMP accreditation at our other sites, consistent with SRA’s farm operational and environmental management plans.
“SRA’s research stations have unique differences to a typical sugarcane farm. We grow cane, but our core focus is research, development, and adoption, which means that our objectives vary from those of a commercial farm. The high value product we turn produce from our farms is quality results and observations, leading to improved profitability, productivity and sustainability for growers and millers.
“However, the principles of Smartcane BMP remain the same and are a natural fit with our operations.”
The accreditation occurred following the work of SRA’s Ingham Farm Manager, Mr Vince Blanco, with support from SRA Meringa Farm Manager, Mr Jeff Smith, and SRA’s Leader for Farm Operations, Mr Jerome Gumley.
It also follows a series of investments and improvements that have occurred at the SRA Ingham station in recent years.
In line with the Ingham BMP accreditation, Mr Fisher said that major investments had been made in response to an external review that pointed toward specific steps that could improve the sugarcane plant-breeding program in the Herbert region.
“SRA has invested in additional staff within the breeding program, farming equipment and infrastructure. We have also purchased a near-infrared machine that allows for efficient and rapid analysis of samples and adds value to the breeding program,” he said.
“This equipment is providing vital research support for local variety development and, over coming years, will continue to add value to variety development and other research activities.”
In addition to the extensive work on developing new varieties, SRA research activities that now occur in the Herbert include soil health, yellow canopy syndrome, enhanced efficiency fertilisers, and improving harvesting efficiency.