Media Releases

Partnership to develop sugarcane industry roadmap

Sugarcane industry peak bodies and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) are partnering to develop the first whole-of-industry shared vision and roadmap to 2040.

The Sugarcane Industry Roadmap will adopt a best-for-industry view to identify significant opportunities to drive sustainability, growth and prosperity of the industry and regional communities into the future.

CRCNA Chief Executive Officer Anne Stünzner said the roadmap will identify the future forces likely to impact the industry, establish agreed priorities and provide insight into the skills, resources, innovation and infrastructure needed for future success.

“For more than 100 years, the sugarcane industry has been a major economic and social contributor to regional communities across Queensland and northern New South Wales and has demonstrated a thirst for innovation and new technology,” Ms Stünzner said.

She said industry organisations have recognised the need to complement and enhance the traditional raw sugar production model to improve productivity and diversify revenue sources.

“While the industry faces economic, environmental and social challenges, there is significant opportunity to expand to become a multi-product, ‘sugar plus’ industry with potential for alternate markets such as biofuels and bioplastics,” Ms Stünzner said.

The roadmap initiative has the joint backing of five sugarcane industry organisations – Sugar Research Australia, CANEGROWERS, the Australian Sugar Milling Council, AgForce and the Australian Cane Farmers Association – with funding also provided by the CRCNA and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Sugar Research Australia Chief Executive Officer Roslyn Baker said the project will involve extensive engagement across the sugarcane industry value chain to co-develop a plan for the future.

“The roadmap will address both the immediate enhancements and improvements that can be made for a stronger industry, as well as longer-term opportunities to enter new markets, to diversify into new crops and products, and alternative uses for core industry assets,” Ms Baker said.

She said the roadmap will support the industry to bring to life a vision relevant to all sugarcane regions while cultivating greater agility to embrace local opportunities.

“This initiative is about generational change and putting industry in the driver’s seat to build an exciting and prosperous future,” Ms Baker said.

Stakeholder engagement sessions are underway. The roadmap is due to be finalised in early 2022.

Queensland’s sugarcane growers have welcomed today’s start of a ban on some single-use plastic items in the state. 

Representing the majority of the state’s growers, CANEGROWERS believes the ban will help build the business case for local products that are biodegradable, compostable and based on a renewable resource, such as sugarcane. 

Read the full media release below.

Growers want plastics ban to boost local manufacturing – Canegrowers

Ingham CBD roads – Speed reduction to 50km/h

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) advises that the speed limit will be permanently reduced from 60km/h to 50km/h along Townsville Road, Herbert Street and Lannercost Street in the Ingham CBD. Speed signs will be installed the week beginning Monday 30 August 2021.

The speed limit will be reduced to 50km/h on:

− Townsville Road: from McIlwraith Street to the Townsville Road/Lannercost Street intersection.

− Herbert Street: from the Townsville Road/Lannercost Street intersection to Gardiner Street/Cartwright Street.

− Lannercost Street: from the Townsville Road/Lannercost Street intersection to Log Creek.

For more information and to view the road map download the document below.

Council is pleased to announce that local contractor Keita Services Pty Ltd has been awarded the tender HSC 20/26 Kirks Bridge Replacement – Design and Construct, for the tendered price of $1,648,313 (excl. GST).

Kirks Bridge is located on Liborios Road, Upper Stone and the replacement bridge will increase the trafficable width from 4.42m to 6.8m and in height by 1m. The upgrade is an InQuik Bridging System, which is an innovative semi-modular construction method to build reinforced concrete bridges. The replacement bridge will be positioned just upstream of the current bridge. The current bridge will remain open to the public whilst these works are undertaken.

Kirks Bridge was identified for renewal following a level three inspection undertaken in 2019. It identified that the bridge girders were in poor condition, with heavy decay present throughout. This triggered the need for an option analysis to determine the most cost effective design for its replacement.

‘Consideration was given to undertake a refurbishment of the existing timber bridge, however it was deemed that the most cost effective long term solution was to undertake a full bridge replacement using a concrete structure,’ Mayor Jayo said.

A Cultural Heritage Duty of Care Survey and Assessment took place on Tuesday 20 July 2021. Clearing works have commenced and it is noted that no old growth or riparian vegetation will be cleared for the development project (with the exception of introduced grasses and weeds on the lower river banks).

Motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution whilst traveling in the area. Council would like to thank you for your cooperation during this necessary phase of works.

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New Statutory Funding Contract for SRA

The new SRA Statutory Funding Contract has been signed by the Hon. David Littleproud, MP for Maranoa, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, pursuant to the Sugar Research and Development Services Act 2013, and has been tabled in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

This new ten-year agreement sets out how SRA receives levy payments from its members and Commonwealth co-investment payments to invest in research and development for the benefit of the Australian sugar industry.

The new contract is based on Performance Principles that guide our actions at a strategic and operational level. The Performance Principles are:

  1. to engage stakeholders to identify RD&E priorities and activities that provide benefits to the industry
  2. to ensure RD&E priorities and activities are strategic, collaborative and targeted to improve profitability, productivity, competitiveness and preparedness for future opportunities and challenges through a balanced portfolio
  3. to undertake strategic and cross-industry and cross-sectoral collaboration that addresses shared challenges and draws on experience from other sectors
  4. for governance arrangements and practices to fulfill legislative requirements and align with contemporary Australian best practice for open, transparent and proper use and management of funds
  5. to demonstrate positive outcomes and delivery of RD&E benefits to levy payers and the Australian community in general, and show continuous improvement in governance and administrative efficiency.

The 2017 – 2021 contract will remain on our website until the new contract is finalised when it will be made available.

Decision support tool to help the industry find the harvesting sweet spot

Recent research into sugarcane harvesting has demonstrated that there is significant potential for the industry to ensure more sugar makes its way from the paddock and into the supply chain.

Through a range of research projects in recent years, it has been demonstrated that adjusting the way the industry operates its harvesters can put more valuable sugar into the supply chain – and not leave it in the paddock.

However, changing these practices costs money. Practice change involves a negotiation between the harvesting contractor and the farmer to make sure both sides of the equation are receiving a benefit.

SRA Agricultural Machinery Specialist, Phil Patane, explained that recovering more sugar from the paddock involves decisions such as practice change or making modifications to harvesters.

“Most of these changes involve a cost for the harvesting contractor, who need to look at their return on their investment for their business,” Mr Patane explained. “Changing practices can improve yield, but the grower and the contractor need to work out the sweet spot so that both can benefit.”

Now, that process will be made much easier through a new tool that is currently being developed by SRA and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland) (DAF).

This tool is part of an investment partnership between DAF and SRA and it is using data collected through years of trials across the sugar industry and is being supported by in-depth economic data being collected and analysed by agricultural economists at DAF.

Once available, it will provide an online platform that helps growers and contractors look at the potential gains and cost implications of changing harvesting practice, including the impact on harvesting costs.

“If the project helps achieve increase adoption of improved harvesting practices by 40% during the life of the project, this would add 480,000 tonnes to the crop annually, worth at least $34.4m to the industry at current sugar prices,” Mr Patane said.

DAF agricultural economist Brendon Nothard said that the project will continue to provide a framework recognising that practice change presents different risks and rewards for different sectors in the value chain.

“The team will be testing the platform this season and are aiming for a more widespread rollout beginning in 2022 through to 2023.”

  • For more information a fact sheet has been developed on the project.
  • SRA acknowledges the funding contribution from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries towards this research activity.

Ergon Energy’s new Look Up and Live mobile app is designed to help reduce incidents and injuries at high-risk work sites, including Queensland cane farms during the crushing season.  To find out more download the media release below.

Australia’s sugarcane growers have welcomed the opportunity to grow sugar exports to the United Kingdom under an in-principle trade deal between the two countries. 

Trade Minister Dan Tehan has been in regular contact with CANEGROWERS during the long-running negotiations and we thank the Australian Government for its efforts in securing an agreement with a substantial and positive outcome for the sugar industry.

Positive outcome for sugarcane growers in FTA – Canegrowers

Days from the start of the 2021 sugarcane harvest, CANEGROWERS grower leaders are feeling upbeat at an important meeting in Cairns.

More than 80 people are at the CANEGROWERS Leadership Forum, including the National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson and grower leaders from every sugarcane region in Queensland.

Grower leaders pause in Cairns ahead of busy harvest – Canegrowers

A sugarcane farmer dragging a ball and chain is the centrepiece of an animation explaining CANEGROWERS key issues with Queensland and Australian government treatment of agriculture in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Made to explain the decade-long sugarcane industry battle against reef regulations, waged while growers have been improving farm environmental practices, the animation is available on YouTube https://youtu.be/NheaJ_aEUhs 

Animation tackles sugarcane issues with reef politics – Canegrowers

CANEGROWERS has announced that, ahead of the 2021 crush, Australia has become the world’s second largest raw sugar exporter. At the March Policy Council (prior to the most recent rain), crop estimates were tallied by representatives from all districts revealing a smaller harvest ahead than in 2020. However it will be enough for Australia to become the world’s second biggest raw sugar exporter behind Brazil because Thailand has also experienced drought. 

Australia now second biggest raw sugar exporter – Canegrowers