Key Points from Catalyst Forum 2016

Elaine Seager
February 24, 2016

Key Points from Catalyst Forum 2016

Terrain Chair Mike Berwick says innovation and soil health key

Over the two days of the 2016 Forum in Cairns, North Queensland’s most forward thinking sugar cane growers came together to present the results from their trials and share new developments, ideas and knowledge.

While innovation is considered risky to many conventional farmers, these growers are engaged in trialling new farming practices as a way to manage the future risk to their businesses. Many say that escalating input costs are making their businesses unsustainable.

The innovative new practices being trialled have potential dual benefits, both for farmer profitability and also for water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.  

The Forum confirmed that these forward thinking growers are engaged in some exciting new opportunities that will eventually benefit the whole farming community.

The challenge is to share these ideas more widely and make the results accessible to other growers.

The key points discussed at the Forum confirmed the:

  1. Importance of ensuring long term funding so that the trials can be tested and measured in different weather conditions.
  2. Importance of making sure that farmers are supported with technical expertise and mentoring to trial new practices.
  3. Importance of evaluating the economic implications of the trials so that we can understand the cost/benefit of implementing new techniques and demonstrate the business and profitability opportunities.