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CLICK HERE for printer friendly version of February's newsletter
28          QRIDA 2019 flood event grant extension closes

5             SRA CEO listening tour; Proserpine Community Centre, Gardenia St, Proserpine - 8am to 10am
24 - 25    Case IH Step Up! 2020; Bundaberg
30           SRA Central Region Grower Update - 2020, Windmill Hotel, 5 Highway Plaza, Mackay - 9am to 2pm

27 - 28     Women in Sugar Australia 2020 conference; Mackay
North Queensland’s role on the frontline of Australia’s biosecurity has been highlighted by the discovery of an invasive moth pest in the Torres Strait. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the discovery of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) showed just how critical it was for everyone to play their role in protecting Queensland’s critical agricultural production and environment.
“Fall armyworm is an invasive moth pest that feeds in large numbers on more than 350 plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grasses such as maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat, and also to other horticultural crops and cotton,” Mr Furner said.
“Those industries support thousands of Queensland jobs so it is vital that we work together to ensure it is eradicated. Biosecurity Queensland is working with other Australian governments and industry groups to manage the threat posed by fall armyworm and respond appropriately.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui the moths were native to tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Americas but now posed a risk to crops.
“These moths mostly spread through natural means because they are strong fliers, but it is also important for our farmers for everyone to be aware of biosecurity and the potential to spread this and other pests,” Ms Lui said.
“Biosecurity is everyone’s business and we can all play a role by being vigilant and reporting anything that doesn’t seem right to Biosecurity Queensland. By doing that we put up an extra line of defence to protect local jobs and jobs right across Queensland.”
Biosecurity Queensland General Manager Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity Mike Ashton said fall armyworm had been found on Erub and Saibai islands.
“The Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy have advised Biosecurity Queensland that seven specimens of the pest were found in late January in traps set on the islands,” Mr Ashton said.
He said fall armyworm larvae were most active during late summer and early autumn months, but may be active year-round in tropical areas.
“Fall armyworm larvae are light coloured with a larger darker head. As they develop, they become browner with white lengthwise stripes and also develop dark spots with spines,” Mr Ashton said. “Adult moths are 32 to 40mm in length wing tip to wing tip, with a brown or grey forewing and a white hind wing. Male fall armyworm adults have more patterns and a distinct white spot on each of their forewings. Growers should have on-farm biosecurity measures in place to protect their crops from pests and diseases.”
Mr Ashton said fall armyworm was first detected outside its native range in early 2016 and has spread to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia.
“The pest is a strong flier and is believed to have covered most of its geographical range through natural dispersal but can also be spread through the movement of infested plant material,” he said.
“The community, industry and agronomists are encouraged to report any unexpected symptoms in the field by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.”
Central region cane farmers are invited to participate in an on-farm agronomy project (CQ161) which provides assistance with fertiliser management, improving fertiliser efficiency and identifying areas to improve profit from improved fertiliser use.  
While a key priority of the CQ161 project is to improve fertiliser use, it is also just one piece of the picture.  Whole farm assessments are carried out to identify potential improvements in weed control, irrigation management, and other factors tailored to individual farms in the region.
By working with local agronomists from Farmacist, detailed farm management and planning advice will be provided to growers, specific to their individual farming needs. Through involvement with the project growers will receive:
  • a whole-farm nutrient plan in line with the latest reef regulations
  • one-on-one extension to assist with agronomic decisions relating to weed and irrigation management or other factors influencing production
  •  2 free items (soil test, 10ha EM mapping, or a G-Dot soil moisture monitoring sensor)
  • a soil pH test kit
  • fertiliser box calibration
  • record of nutrient application data in line with latest reef regulations
  • document and review of historical soil test data
  • Google Earth training
  • Nutrient Management training.
There is a $550 (GST inclusive) per farm cost to join the project and some selection criteria apply. It is important to remember that this cost is tax deductible and it will allow for on-farm planning and management to be maximized by growers working together with their agronomist.

This project started in early 2018, developed through the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program and there are currently 110 farms from the Central region involved. We are now looking for another 40 interested farms to join the project.

CQ161 is funded through the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program and the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and is focused on agronomists working on-farm with growers to improve profitability. Please call Che Trendell from Farmacist to register your interest 0439 588 627.
Wilmar Sugar Australia has welcomed the next generation of tradies to its ranks, with 30 first-year apprentices starting work with the company this month. Wilmar Training Superintendent Daniel Shipard said four of the new apprentices would be based at Proserpine Mill. The others will do their trade training at Wilmar’s Burdekin, Herbert and Plane Creek mills, and the Sarina BioEthanol Distillery.

Proserpine’s Connor Hancock said he was looking forward to learning the boilermaking trade at Proserpine Mill. “I chose to do my apprenticeship through Wilmar because of the wide variety of fabrication work I’ll get to do in the mill environment,” he said. “I excelled in manual arts at school and was always aiming for an apprenticeship. I did some work experience at Proserpine Mill in June and July last year and it was great. “Safety was a big aspect and there was a good culture in the work team. I thought it’d be a really good environment to get into and learn my trade.”

Mr Shipard said Wilmar’s new recruits would join 93 apprentices already employed across Wilmar’s Queensland operations. “Wilmar is one of the largest providers of apprenticeship opportunities in Queensland, with about 120 apprentices working at our sites at any one time,” Mr Shipard said. “We’re very proud of the quality of our trade training and the fact that we have a completion rate of 95 per cent – which is well above the industry average.”

This year’s intake includes electrical, boilermaking, fitting and turning, and diesel fitting apprentices. Mr Shipard said all of the new apprentices had completed two weeks of safety training in the Burdekin before starting work at their respective sites this week. “An apprenticeship with Wilmar means you’ll be properly trained in safe work practices, you’ll be involved in multi-million dollar projects, and you’ll get to work closely with other trade disciplines to achieve results,” Mr Shipard said.

New Proserpine Mill apprentices, from left, Deklyn Brown, Chris McKeough, Connor Hancock and Liam Bailey.


With the first investments of the Land Restoration Fund now open, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation has partnered with the Queensland Government to deliver a series of workshops across Queensland to provide information and help landholders apply for the Fund.

At the workshops, specialists from government, industry and the carbon farming sector (QRIDA, Carbon Market Institute, your industry representatives, your local NRM staff and Carbon Project Developers) will explain the application process and provide information on the first investment round so attendees can start putting together applications for carbon farming projects in Queensland.

Click on the link below to register:

CLICK HERE to register for Mackay workshop - 13th March 2020
CLICK HERE for futher information & more workshop dates
Angus from Wilmar hosted the second pricing and marketing session for PYF members in January. This session Angus introduced sugar futures and ran through the basics we need to know before moving onto more detail in our next session.
PYF members have the opportunity to attend a pesticide workshop hosted by DAF on Wednesday 19th February. See Molly for more information.
PYF spent 4 days in the Burdekin in December learning about automated irrigation and other farming practices. Visit SSP’s website to find out more about our trip:

The grants of up to $75,000 for farmers flood impacted from the flood event in early 2019 have now been extended to 28 February 2020.

Whitsunday Regional Council has only recently been added to the declaration area, so if you have found flood damage you are now able to lodge a claim if needed, of up to $75,000.

Eligible activities: 

  • Hiring or leasing equipment or materials to clean premises, property or equipment;
  • Removing and disposing of debris, damaged goods, materials including injured or dead livestock;
  • Repairing or replacing fencing on the property;
  • Purchasing and transporting fodder or feed for livestock;
  • Replacing livestock;
  • Replacing lost or damaged plants, salvaging crops, repairing or restoring fields;
  • Repairing, reconditioning or replacing essential plant or equipment;
  • Maintaining the health of livestock;
  • Paying additional wages to an employee to assist with clean-up work.

In addition to the DRFA grants, affected primary producers can also access the Commonwealth’s Restocking, Replanting and On-farm Infrastructure co-contribution grants of up to $400,000, administered by the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency (NQLIRA) and this is ideal if you require more grant funding over the $75,000.

Application should include:

  • photographs of damage
  • copies of estimates or quotes if available
  • confirmation property is in disaster area
  • confirmation they are an eligible primary producer

For more information about this recovery grant, including eligibility criteria and the application process, contact QRIDA on: Freecall 1800 623 946.


Sugarcane growers are being reminded to consider the crop pests and diseases that potentially could be within their paddocks, and affecting their yields, as they plan for 2020. One of the most significant soil-borne pests of sugarcane is Pachymetra root rot, which can only be properly assessed with a soil sample analysis to determine its severity. The results from this soil analysis, which is a service provided by Sugar Research Australia (SRA) through its Tully laboratory, provides growers with information on the appropriate management response.

“We encourage farmers to send their samples in to the laboratory for analysis early in the year,” SRA Leader for Disease Management, Dr Rob Magarey, said. “This helps ensure that growers receive their results back with plenty of time before planting, which is crucial for helping them make decisions on what varieties to plant.”

Pachymetra root rot can cause yield losses of up to 40 percent in susceptible varieties. It is caused by a fungus-like organism and it reduces yield, causes gappy ratoon crops and can lead to an increase of soil in the cane supply. It attacks the large primary roots of the sugarcane plant, stunting cane growth and reducing the anchorage of the plant in the soil. If the yield loss impacts are not severe, significant crop losses can occur without growers noticing.

“Soil borne disease is not spectacular above the ground, so Pachymetra is not easily identified when driving around paddocks. Often crop losses are attributed to a range of factors, such as climate, poor nutrition, waterlogging, or drought,” said Dr Magarey. “Therefore, getting a soil assay done helps you diagnose the problem and manage it. Without an assay – unless the problem gets very severe – you are just unaware of it, even though it’s impacting your productivity and profitability.”

SRA Assay Lab supervisor, Ms Laura MacGillycuddy, has seen on many occasions where soil samples were submitted to the lab and testing showed very high levels of the disease. “Often farmers are surprised to find that they have a Pachymetra problem, but they didn’t realise it until they tested soil from their crops,” she said.

For more information on sending soil samples for analysis, growers should contact their local productivity services organisation or Laura at the SRA Tully station, on (07) 4088 0712 or email her at:

“We encourage growers to get in early in 2020 and to sample comprehensively across their fallow paddocks, which will help them establish the best possible crop for the years ahead,” she said. “Getting in early ensures growers have their results back before the rush of sampling later in the year and that they have plenty of time to understand the results before making their planting decisions.”

The severity of Pachymetra can vary considerably between districts and even within districts, underscoring the importance of individual growers understand the situation on their own farms and individual paddocks.

To learn more about soil assays, contact your local productivity services organisation or visit the “Pests and Diseases” section of the SRA website under “Growers and Millers”. Visit

Registrations have recently opened for the Annual Women In Sugar Australia Conference, to be held in Mackay from 27th to 28th of April.

The organisers and sponsors encourage anyone with an interest in the sugar industry to attend. The Conference is a great way to meet lots of people and visit places of interest within the Mackay district.

To register, please click the button below and email your completed form to:

CLICK HERE for Mackay 2020 conference registration form

QSL Pre-Crush Advance payment option, now accepting nominations


Do you need increased cash flow prior to harvest?

Contact your local rep for more details.


QSL has launched a new Guaranteed Floor Pool


The February 2020 Guaranteed Floor Pool – to take advantage of current pricing levels.


Like its standard counterpart, QSL's February 2020 Guaranteed Floor Pool offers growers a guaranteed minimum return or 'floor', as well as 50% participation in any pricing achieved above a set 'strike price'.


The February 2020 Guaranteed Floor Pool is now accepting nominations of a minimum of 10 tonnes, with indicative floor and strike prices available on the QSL homepage (, QSL Direct and via our Daily Price Update email.


Nominations for this pool will close 4pm Thursday 20 February 2020, with the floor to be set at the next market opportunity.


Should the floor achieved be more than $10 less than the last published indicative floor price, the pool will be cancelled and growers will have the opportunity to reallocate their nominated tonnage to another 2020-Season pricing option.



Sign up now for Women in Sugar event


Registrations are now open for the 2020 Annual Women in Sugar Conference, to be held in Mackay on 27 and 28 April. QSL is a proud sponsor of the event, this year hosted by the Canegrowers Network Mackay District and focused on the theme of 'Farming Friendships'.




Discover the delights of Osaka and its surrounding districts on this year's QSL study tour to Japan. This small-group trip will explore the sugar refineries and port facilities in the Keihanshin region of Japan's south-west coast. Numbers are strictly limited, with Expressions of Interest closing on Friday 29 February 2020 for a tour departure in late May. Please click here for more details. To register your interest, contact Cathy Kelly on 0409 285 074 or email



Reminders via QSL App


Growers using the QSL App can receive handy reminders about important dates and deadlines.


To receive this free service, accept the Notifications feature when first downloading your app, or choose 'Allow Notifications' for the QSL App within the 'Notifications' section in your phone's settings.


Need a hand with this? See your local QSL rep for help.


For more information on any of the above please contact:

Karen Vloedmans - Grower Relationship Officer

Proserpine and Whitsunday Region

Mobile 0429 804 876

NEXT GEN - 24th TO 25th MARCH 2020
CLICK HERE to access Marketing Information Service online resources
LEASES   with Bogie & Co. Solicitors, Proserpine & Cannonvale
Whilst certain contracts require to be in writing e.g. for the sale of land, guarantees and various other matters, many contracts can be and are entered into verbally. A written contract, however, plays a vital role in any business transaction.  Apart from ensuring the agreement reached is legally binding, contracts also highlight important matters which the parties should consider. A few random observations on contracts may be of interest: 
  • Disputes frequently arise with contracts and, if those contracts have not been committed to writing, it is sometimes difficult to establish what actually was agreed at the time the contract was entered into.  Parties can have a different understanding of certain terms of a contract or, in some cases, simply do not consider certain matters.  It is often left for a court to try to determine what the parties intended based on the evidence available. It is inevitably more costly to try to work out what was intended than it would have been to document the terms of the contract from the outset.
  • Contract discussions can take place during sensitive business dealings between parties.  Although it may sound self-explanatory, a written contract gives each party the chance to read and have a clear understanding of the terms or conditions, including the expectations of each party as well as what terms they have agreed to after discussion.
  • Another less obvious benefit of written contracts is that they provide the opportunity to agree on confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions protecting sensitive information.  As part of such a contract, the parties may agree to be legally bound to hold in secrecy the transactions involved and the information shared.  The party who violates this confidentiality provision would be held liable under the agreement.
  • When a party to a contract breaches a written contract, there is a document which can be used to determine what the parties have agreed and to determine who really is at fault.  Having a readily available written contract reduces the chances of bringing the issue to litigation proceedings or delaying matters through litigation more than may be necessary.  This can therefore avoid cost and delay in achieving performance of the contract.
  • Within written contracts, where personal performance is not required, terms can be included to allow for assignment (transfer) of contractual rights and obligations to a third party.  A written contract defines issues to be clearly considered on assignment and the terms to be included in any assignment documentation.
  • A useful tool in many written contracts is a commercial device used where the party not in breach is appointed attorney for the other party.  This allows the innocent party, where there is a breach by the other party, then to exercise its remedies without further recourse to e.g. litigation.  A carefully worded power of attorney clause for example in a lease would allow a landlord to surrender the lease or transfer the lease to another party in the event of default by the tenant.
  • Dispute resolution clauses can also prove very useful and can avoid expensive litigation.  A written contract should contain a carefully worded clause to cover such disputes and their resolution.
  • One of the hardest things for any solicitor is to convince a client that, even when a contract does not have to be in writing, the safest method of proceeding is to document the agreement.  Parties involved in expensive contract dispute litigation frequently reflect on how little it would have cost from the outset to have documented matters.
 As always, it is advisable that a party should consult its legal and financial advisers before entering into a contract, particularly a contract containing complexities or substantial financial consideration.
The information contained in this article is not advice and should not be treated as such. It is based on Queensland Law and where applicable Commonwealth Legislation. You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to legal and financial advice from a properly qualified professional. If you have any specific questions about any legal and/or financial matters, you should consult an appropriately qualified professional.

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