Researcher Henry Thomas talking to local Woongarra farmer Tony Chapman, on whose farm he has been filming field pea harvesting.
Researcher Henry Thomas talking to local Woongarra farmer Tony Chapman, on whose farm he has been filming field pea harvesting. Mike Knott

Virtual Bus Tour for farms

A BUNDABERG student has created a Virtual Bus Tour to show Queensland cane growers how other farmers are saving money on fertiliser, fuel and chemicals.

Henry Thomas, who is studying for a PhD through the University of Southern Queensland, said his bus tour featured more than 20 on-farm demonstrations of best practice, created by growers on properties stretching from Maryborough to Mossman.

“Growers will see things like how to reduce tractor hours with controlled traffic and minimum till on both small and large farms, bulk storage, transportation and sub-surface application of fertiliser, and the banded and sub-surface application of mill mud,” Mr Thomas said.

“They will also learn about spray calibration and improved nozzle technologies to reduce off-target losses for pesticide application.”

Mr Thomas said cane farmers had told him they liked the time saving of a DVD, and the close-up demonstrations of equipment in operation, which was something they rarely got to see at field days.

They also liked getting together at a roadshow because it provided a social opportunity to observe and debate the merits of each new technology presented.

“For my PhD I am investigating whether videotaping and presenting what a farmer would expect to see and hear on a bus trip or field day is as effective as being there in person,” Mr Thomas said.

The presentation's theme of saving money was inspired by this year's Tropical City Group (TCG) growers' meeting.

“The most beneficial outcomes for us came from reducing waste holistically. Everywhere we saw waste we pounced on it,” TCG member John Irvin said.

Canegrowers will hold the two-hour presentation at Mossman, Gordonvale, Mareeba, Innisfail, Tully, Ingham, Ayr, Proserpine, Mackay, Bundaberg, Childers and Maryborough in the last week of September.

Growers interested in attending should RSVP with their local canegrowers.



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