News

Farmers explain why they do and don't burn cane

BUNDY’S BLACK SNOW: Cane fires burning at the Cayley’s property at Alloway over the years.
BUNDY’S BLACK SNOW: Cane fires burning at the Cayley’s property at Alloway over the years. Neville Cayley

A LETTER to the NewsMail questioning the need for farmers to burn cane has ignited debate among readers and our Facebook followers.

Asthma and health concerns dominated the arguments against the practice, but of the almost 250 people who voted in our online poll, 63% said they still supported burning cane.

According to Bundaberg Canegrowers, since 1985 the percentage of cane burnt across the Bundaberg district had decreased from 100% to just 10%.

Now widely used, green cane harvesting and associated trash blanketing (spreading leaves and other plant residue in a thick layer of mulch over the ground) cannot be used successfully on every farm.

Alloway canefarmer Neville Cayley said he had largely moved to green but occasionally needed to burn.

"When people criticise cane burning they're criticising our work, our job and our livelihood," Mr Cayley said.

"I've largely moved to green cane cutting but when we rotate to use the block for small crops more, it's cost effective and there's less wear and tear on the machinery to burn instead of ploughing it in," he said.

"And leaving the trash destroys the block for future small crops."

Bundaberg farmer Jack Banks no longer burned cane but said he was in a fortunate position that he could wait for a bailing company to remove the cane trash.

"It takes a while, first they rake it up then another guy comes and bails it up and then a few days later the bails get picked up," Mr Banks said.

"Farmers leasing their land need to have the ground ready to go as quickly as possible and burning is a lot quicker."

Topics:  cane, farming, sugarcane




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

WATCH: Divers discover Spirit of 1770 underwater wreck

"All of a sudden this big thing appeared in front of them"

UPDATE: Blood and handbag mystery solved

Police search an area off Woongarra St In Bundaberg. Photo: Craig Warhurst/News mail

Police worked to figure out what happened

Latest deals and offers

Landcare - Bundaberg significant trees

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS: President of Bundaberg and District Urban Landcare's Mike Johnson is concerned about the pollution of Saltwater Creek. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

MIKE Johnson said other councils such as Sydney have rules in place to prevent...

Poinciana in Targo St

UNDER THE CANOPY: Mario and Anna Maria D'Addario with the large Poinciana tree in their front garden. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

Mario and Anna Maria D’Addario have been guardians of a poinciana tree which is...

Tylah Hill - 7 Things guys should stop doing to girls

Tylah Hill's video of 7 things guys should stop doing to girls.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked