Cane farming: Govt spends $5.5mil researching waste

A NEW research program is looking into reducing the amount of sugarcane that gets lost as a result of mechanical harvesting.

It is a problem that is estimated to cost the Australian sugarcane industry $150m a year.

The research is being led by Sugar Research Australia (SRA) and it is aiming to improve harvesting efficiency from multiple research strategies along the value chain.

That includes from encouraging the adoption of existing research on-farm, to using new online tools to help harvester operators maximise the efficiency of removing sugarcane and sugar from a field in real-time.

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.

It will run for three years, going through to June 2019.

SRA has appointed consultant Bernard Milford as project manager to coordinate the activity within the $5.5 million program, which involves multiple research and industry collaborators.

A project Research Management Group has also formed to help steer the project and ensure its outputs are relevant to industry needs.

Representatives from Bundaberg Sugar and Isis Central Sugar Mill are included in that group.

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