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WELCOME TO THE MARCH 2020 ISSUE OF 'CANE NEWS'


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CLICK HERE for printer friendly version of March's newsletter
MEMBER UPDATE ON COVID-19
Dear Members,

There is no doubt the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a dramatic impact on the world around us including our own community here in Proserpine. However, despite the closure of various pubs, clubs and entertainment venues, CANEGROWERS Proserpine and Sugar Services Proserpine offices will remain open for members during this difficult time.

To ensure we can continue to operate as normal, we respectfully ask members to observe a few simple rules.

Do not attend our offices if:
  • You have recently returned from overseas or interstate
  • Met someone who you suspect may have been exposed to coronavirus
  • Exhibit flu-like symptoms or generally feel unwell

By following this practice, we can ensure the safety of our team (and visitors) and remain open without the need to work from home or impose a temporary closure. If you are at all concerned, we are always available on the phone to answer your questions. The most important thing for all of us right now is put our team and members first, and to remain compassionate and listen to the advice of health authorities.

Please look out for your neighbours and the more ‘at risk’ members of our community – please do not hesitate to contact us directly should you require assistance.

Stay well and warm regards,

Mike Porter
Manager
                                                                                         
PROSERPINE YOUNG FARMERS GROUP MARCH UPDATE

PYF have been busy over the last couple of months!

PYF recently had a farm tour with Jeppesen Farming. Tony and Jake demonstrated the OptiSurface technology which they use for designing paddocks for levelling. Tony also discussed his farming history and current farming decisions.

    

PYF has also recently been involved in a pesticide workshop run by Jack and Blairy from DAF. We covered herbicide modes of action, nozzles, and much more. It was an interesting night. We hope to get Jack and Blairy back in the future for another workshop.

We also had our 3rd Wilmar Pricing and Marketing session with Angus. Shirley Norris, the new face in marketing at Wilmar in Proserpine also came along and introduced herself to us. She is new to Proserpine and the sugar industry, but not new to marketing. If you see Shirley be sure to say hello. And don’t hesitate to contact her to chat about marketing.

PYF have also been successful in obtaining a National Landcare Smart Farm Small Grant Round 3. Stay tuned for some more work in the precision ag space!

For more on our latest activities visit the Young Farmers page on the SSP website - https://www.sugarpros.com.au/proserpine-young-farmers

Keen to get involved? Contact Molly on 0439 619 082.

FALL ARMYWORM UPDATE
The exotic pest Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera Frugiperda) has been detected in the Burdekin in North Queensland. This is not unexpected, as Fall Armyworm is highly mobile.

The Department of Agriculture & Fisheries is working with industry to find ways to address the serious threat posed by the Fall Armyworm moth and its larvae to Queensland's agriculture industry. Growers should have on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases. More information is available at www.farmbiosecurity.com.au or, www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.

Producers who think that they may have come across Fall Armyworm are strongly encouraged to photograph and report suspect sightings to the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries on 13 25 23 or to their local biosecurity officer or extension officer.

More information, including the impacts and management advice for key crops, visit: www.business.qld.gov.au/fallarmyworm.
WILMAR EMPLOYS NEW GROWER MARKETING CONSULTANT FOR PROSERPINE
Wilmar Sugar Australia is pleased to introduce its new Grower Marketing Consultant for the Proserpine region, Shirley Norris. Shirley has a strong rural background and brings a wealth of international experience to her new role.
 
She grew up on a coffee farm in Kenya and has worked in the agricultural and horticultural sectors in East Africa, Holland and Australia. “I’ve worked in and around primary industries for more than 20 years, both as a producer and in grower support roles,” she said.
 
“I spent a number of years growing roses commercially for export to the European markets, so I know firsthand some of the challenges growers face and how global issues can impact their business. “I’ve also worked in supply chain management, best practice management, marketing and, more recently, in a grower liaison role for the mango and avocado industries.”
 
Wilmar Grower Marketing and Pricing Manager PJ Gileppa said Shirley joined Wilmar in February and had hit the ground running. “Shirley is passionate about sustainable farming and helping growers achieve the best possible outcome for their business,” he said.
 
“She’s looking forward to meeting local growers to talk about Wilmar’s sugar marketing offer and explain how our pricing and payment options can support their business.”
 
Shirley is based at Proserpine Mill and will spend much of her time meeting with growers on farm. She’s looking forward to meeting growers from across the Proserpine region and providing professional pricing and payment support.
 
To arrange a meeting, give Shirley a call on 0437 803 019 or email Shirley.norris@au.wilmar-intl.com.
CELEBRATING SMARTCANE BMP'S FIRST 500

Queensland’s sugarcane industry is celebrating the first 500 cane farming businesses accredited in the industry voluntary best management practice program Smartcane BMP. “Together these 500 growers, individuals and families, manage 30% of the state’s sugarcane land at or above industry best practice,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “I congratulate each and every one of these growers for the dedication they have put into the future of their industry.

 

“We are reaching the point where banks and sugar buyers are taking notice of grower accreditation as confirmation of our industry commitment to productivity, profitability and sustainability.”

 

Through independent audits, Smartcane BMP provides a way for growers to verify their practices and confirm their existing reputation as responsible stewards of their land. "The momentum over the past year in the program has been amazing,” Smartcane BMP Program Manager Kate Gowdie said. "Reaching the 500 milestone is a credit to the years of work by growers on their farms and our dedicated network of facilitators.

 

“The program has funding from the Queensland Government until 2022 so I urge anyone thinking of participating to take advantage of the support that is on offer. Smartcane BMP has gained global recognition and is now a valuable tool to underpin the promotion of Australian sugar as a sustainable product on the world market,” Mr Galligan said.

 

“At the same time it provides an assurance to growers and their communities that they are meeting their requirements around legislative compliance at a local level.”
CANEGROWERS MARKETING INFORMATION SERVICE UPDATE
SPECIAL UPDATE AVAILABLE ONLINE

The sugar market has seen a lot of movement over the past few weeks, so the CANEGROWERS Marketing Information Service team have prepared a special late-March video to keep members informed. The late-March update can be viewed by clicking the link below. Alternatively, log in via the CANEGROWERS website to view this and all other updates.
CLICK HERE to view the late-March Marketing Information Service update
MARKETING INFORMATION SESSIONS POSTPONED

CANEGROWERS Marketing Information Service advises that workshops have been postponed while video link delivery options are explored, and growers are urged to take advantage of online resources. Face to face workshops will not proceed for now due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

With 2020 season pricing decisions fast approaching and due by end of April, we understand that growers need up to date and independent information while working through their options.

The CANEGROWERS website contains a monthly video update supplemented by Weekly Notes which summarise the most recent market movements. Please be in touch with your local district office if you need assistance logging in with your CANEGROWERS membership number (which is in this format 1-123-45678) and can also be found on your magazine cover sheet.

The message shared in workshops held in the Mackay district this week was that the market situation and outlook are very different now from a week ago. Despite the sharp reduction the spot price, forward season prices have been relatively robust and combined with the lower AUD/USD exchange rate the Aussie dollar price for 2022 at A$450-460 per tonne is still above the long-term average.  Earlier this week some growers began locking in these prices for 2022.

For the 2020 season, some marketers have been offering early start pricing choices and it is worth noting that some also began pricing on their production risk volume as early as November 2019. It is important for growers to know how these various pricing products work and the time horizons involved when choosing their marketer and making their pricing selections.

The CANEGROWERS Marketing Information Service is exclusively for members. It was built to provide members with an independent, education-focused approach to information as marketing choice decisions are made.
CLICK HERE to visit: www.canegrowers.com.au/marketing-information-service
QSL MARCH UPDATE

As we make our way through another Queensland cyclone season, QSL Growers can rest assured that they have a number of options open to them to help manage the pricing implications of weather events.
 

BEFORE 30 APRIL

Some time ago QSL pushed its Pricing Nomination Date to the end of April to help maximise the time growers had to ride out the cyclone season and get a solid estimate for the crop in the ground before finalising their pricing choices for the coming season. This means that our Growers can change or cancel their pricing options to reflect any crop fluctuations up until 30 April each year.

AFTER 30 APRIL

All growers using QSL are required to put at least 35% of their tonnage in the Harvest Pool. This Harvest Pool allocation acts as a personal buffer for any reduction in your estimate after 30 April, with tonnage redirected from your Harvest Pool allocation to fill any of your committed pricing if required. That means that even if you have committed all available tonnage and your production drops by a third or less from your original estimate, your Harvest Pool allocation is large enough to cover your commitments.

Should your crop reduce to the level where your Harvest Pool allocation isn’t large enough to meet your pricing commitments, your local QSL team will work with you to find the best solution for your individual circumstances, whether that be to cancel unfilled pricing, unwind filled pricing, or move tonnages between ABNs.

And of course for those growers who don’t want any kind of production commitment, the Harvest Pool accepts whatever sugar you produce – regardless of your original estimate – with no penalty for non-delivery.  

When bad weather strikes, QSL’s focus is on finding a way forward that not only manages any crop loss, but helps get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. For more information or to discuss this, please talk to your local grower relationship officer: Karen Vloedmans on 0429 804 876.

 
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QSL CEO Update  |  By Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Greg Beashel
 
The Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s formally known, has sparked massive global upheaval and so I wanted to give you an update on how QSL is playing its part to help protect our growers, staff and communities during the current pandemic.

As you may be aware, QSL is a Queensland-based and focused company, with staff located at regional sites around the state, from Mossman in the north to Brisbane in the south.

Like businesses throughout the country, we’ve recently implemented government hygiene and social distancing recommendations to help curb the spread of COVID-19, and as part of this, are enabling our staff to work from home wherever practical. Thankfully, much of our business is already conducted remotely on a regular basis, so we have existing technology and systems in place to make this a relatively simple adjustment. However it does mean that as of Monday, QSL’s regional marketing offices will be unmanned while your local QSL Grower Services rep temporarily works from home.

So for a little while there’ll be less face-to-face appointments, group training sessions and grower information meetings, and more chats with your local QSL rep via the phone or email. Rest assured that they’re still on the job and will no doubt be in touch soon to check in with how you’re travelling and discuss your pricing options ahead of next month’s 2020-Season Pricing Declaration Date.

Our pricing and payment services remain unchanged, and QSL Direct, the QSL App, the QSL website, the QSL Direct helpline, and our regular updates, pricing emails and text messages will all continue as usual.

Although we’ve seen significant falls in equity and other markets around the globe, the Aussie dollar’s recent decline is helping to offset ICE 11 falls and keep 2020-Season sugar prices above $400/tonne gross and over $450/tonne gross for 2022.

While it’s not quite business as usual, the entire QSL team is still working for you and focused on helping our growers through the unprecedented season ahead.

So please don’t hesitate to contact your local QSL Grower Services representatives if you need any information or support.

Stay well, and we’ll update you again soon.- Greg Beashel. 
CANEGROWERS DISPUTES SENSE OF AGFORCE'S MOVE TO CANE

Queensland’s sugarcane growers’ organisation is disappointed AgForce is considering adding a new commodity group to its organisation to represent the industry. “We understand AgForce has chosen to go through a member consultation process on their proposal,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said. “We are deeply concerned about and not supportive of this development.

 

“The proposal would establish a third voice on cane-growing issues at the state and national level, further dividing Queensland agriculture at a time when we don’t need it – growers and farmers working together are always more effective.

 

“Sugarcane growers have found great advantage in working within their industry in a way that puts their commodity front and centre on issues specific to their industry and, where it sits with CANEGROWERS objectives, we work with other organisations to achieve a common goal. 

 

“Growers are, of course, entitled to make their own choice about which organisation to join and which one represents their industry and issues best. A choice already exists for growers in the Burdekin region with four existing local grower representative groups.

 

“CANEGROWERS values and appreciates the fact that the vast majority of growers in Queensland choose this organisation to represent their interests.

 

“We will continue to do this with our network of 14 offices providing on the ground services and representation," Mr Schembri said.

 

CANEGROWERS has a long history and in depth understanding of the unique and complex issues and relationships that make up the Australian sugar industry.

 

“CANEGROWERS is proud to represent Australia’s sugarcane growers on the local, state, national and international stages through membership of organisations such as Queensland Farmers' Federation, National Farmers’ Federation and the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers, and will continue to do so," Mr Schembri said.

NATIONAL HARVEST LABOUR INFORMATION SERVICE

                                 NHLIS are a no-cost service that assists agriculture and horticulture businesses to find harvest labour.

Workers are sourced using the NHLIS website, social media and call centre and the service puts suitable workers in contact with you. It is then your choice to employ them or not. We will continue to direct workers to you until you have filled your requirements.

The easiest way to use the service is to contact the call centre which is located in regional Australia (open from 8 am – 8 pm Mon-Fri AEST). Our trained consultants will be able to assist you in finding the right workers for your needs. NHLIS is a no-cost service that is funded through the Australian Government and managed by MADEC, a not-for-profit organisation.
 
If you’d like to know more, feel free to get in touch with us. We can be contacted at:  nhlis@madec.edu.au | www.madec.edu.au or on 1800 062 332.

                                                                                                       
CLICK HERE for more information
QUEENSLAND FARMERS FEDERATION - 10 THINGS TO KNOW
                                                                    
CLICK HERE for the latest QFF update (dated 23rd March, 2020)
STRAYING LIVESTOCK   with Chris Cooper (CJ Cooper & Associates, Solicitors)
Cattle and other livestock damaging cane crops is an issue for Growers in many regions. The following is a general outline of the legal position and some options to consider.
 
LIVESTOCK OWNERS RESPONSIBILITY FOR STRAYING ANIMALS
The general proposition is that stock owners have a duty to keep their livestock from trespassing on someone else’s property. Stock owners are generally liable for any damage, such as damage to crops, their stock cause by such trespassing.
 
PROPERTY OWNER RIGHTS
Property owners have a right to enjoy their land without livestock trespassing on to it. They do not have an obligation to prevent someone else’s livestock from straying onto their lands. That is an obligation on livestock owners. If the property owners suffer loss or damage as a result of livestock trespassing on the property owners’ land, then generally the property owners are entitled to recover compensation/damages from the livestock owners.
 
The following are some options for Growers whose lands are subjected to livestock straying onto their lands:-
 
  1. Discussion
Try to resolve the issue of livestock trespass through discussion and negotiation directly with the livestock owners.
 
  1. Mediation
If direct discussions are not possible or fail, consider using the Disputes Resolution Centres administered through the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General.  This dispute resolution system is free and is designed to resolve disputes between neighbours without going to court.  The system assists neighbours and others involved in a dispute or conflict to try to resolve the problem through a free mediation involving the relevant parties with an independent mediator. The mediator is appointed locally through the Disputes Centre and conducts a meeting between the parties. The mediator’s role is to bring the parties to the dispute together with the mediator and try to work out, by discussion, some way of resolving the problem that the parties agree to and can live with.  Dispute Centres are located in Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
 
  1. Letter of Demand
Growers could consider sending a formal letter of demand, either from the grower or local CANEGROWERS office or a lawyer, to the livestock owners.  The letter could give notice of trespass and demand preventative action be taken, in default of which other steps will be considered.  Such a letter might apply sufficient pressure to have the livestock owners take the necessary steps to prevent further trespass.
 
  1. Local Council
Most Local Councils have powers through their Local By-Laws, to operate a pound and to capture and detain straying livestock. Lodging a complaint with Council may assist.

 
  1. Impounding
In some cases Growers themselves can capture and hold the livestock and claim against the livestock owner the costs and expenses of doing so, and any damage caused.
 
  1. Police/Stock Squad/RSPCA
A complaint could be made to the local police and also the stock squad officer, through the local police station.  Also under the Animal Care and Protection Act, the RSPCA and relevant department officers, have the right to take action, including the seizing of animals, if the animals are in danger or risk of harm.  If the cattle are straying on public lands this may be an option.
 
  1. Legal Action
The Growers could take legal action in Court against the livestock owners. Such action could be in the form of a claim for damages suffered. A claim could also be made for an injunction (binding court order) to require the livestock owner under Court Order to take all necessary steps to prevent livestock continuing to trespass. Any such Court action would have to be carefully considered as it can be expensive, stressful and time consuming. Good evidence of the trespass, and clear evidence of the identity and ownership of the livestock, would have to be established as part of proving the case.
 
  1. Self-help
Self-help measures, such as erecting a suitable barrier or a fence to prevent the livestock coming on, might be considered. Whilst the Growers are not at fault, and have no legal obligation or duty to keep the livestock out of the Growers’ property, in some cases, self-help may practically and commercially be an option to consider.  The Grower might fix the problem themselves, notwithstanding that it is really the livestock owners responsibility.
 
  1. Dividing Fence
Under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act, a dispute about the construction, maintenance, and contribution to costs of, a suitable dividing fence, if unable to resolved by the neighbours, can be resolved by order of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.   As a general rule, cane Growers are not required to contribute to the cost of erecting or maintaining a suitable dividing fence.  This is because various Courts and Tribunals have consistently found that Growers derive no benefit from a dividing fence, and in many cases, such a dividing fence acts as a detriment to cane growing activities.
 
It may be possible, subject to the particular facts and circumstances, under the Act for Growers to make application in the Tribunal for an order that a proper stockproof fence be constructed and the cost be the sole responsibility of the neighbour, not the Grower.
 
  1. Protection
Property owners have the legal right to use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend themselves and their property. The shooting of straying livestock is likely though to be regarded as using excessive force and may well be unlawful.
 
If further information or advice is required, please consult your local CANEGROWERS office or contact me on the CANEGROWERS Freecall Number 1800 177 159.
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Canegrowers Proserpine · PO Box 374 · Proserpine, Qld 4800 · Australia

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