Joint statement from BSES and NSW Sugar Mill Co-operative Limited

11 July 2013

New soil management guidelines to help NSW sugarcane growers manage costs and farm more sustainably

BSES Limited (BSES) and the NSW Sugar Mill Co-operative Limited (NSW Sugar) have launched a booklet entitled Soil-Specific Nutrient Management Guidelines for Sugarcane Production in New South Wales.

The booklet combines the SIX EASY STEPS program – a nutrient management package that seeks to improve on-farm productivity, profitability and sustainability – with unique aspects of growing cane in NSW to produce nutrient management guidelines specific to the soils of the three cane-growing districts.

John Panitz, Principal Technician Nutrient Management, BSES said that the guide – funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program – can help local growers improve their knowledge of the different soil types on their farms and make better-informed farming practice decisions.

“On-farm nutrient management should be based on a sound understanding of soils.

“Soil type influences decisions on which variety to plant and how much fertiliser to apply. It also has an impact on the choice of tillage practices, planting techniques, drainage and harvest schedule,” said Mr Panitz.

“A good understanding of the different soil types, including their appearance and occurrence in a landscape can help growers farm more precisely.”

Mr Rick Beattie, Manager Agriculture Services, NSW Sugar said that the guidelines also provide a more exact way of managing fertiliser inputs than the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.

“There is a real need to reduce production costs due to the escalating costs of fertiliser. Continued environmental challenges have also made responsible soil and nutrient management more important to growers,” said Mr Beattie.

“The guidelines not only seek to maintain or improve crop yields and soil fertility, but they also provide real opportunities for cost reductions. Importantly they can minimise possible off-site nutrient movement.

“I encourage every grower in NSW to collect the free booklet from the Ag Office their local mill from next week. Alternatively it can be downloaded as an e-book from the BSES website.”

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