Terri Irwin, Bob Irwin, Bindi Irwin and Britain's Prince Charles before a roundtable meeting, discussing coral resilience on Lady Elliot Island. Bundaberg's canegrowing community has expressed their disappointment following claims made to His Royal Highness that farmers were using chemicals banned more than two decades ago.
Terri Irwin, Bob Irwin, Bindi Irwin and Britain's Prince Charles before a roundtable meeting, discussing coral resilience on Lady Elliot Island. Bundaberg's canegrowing community has expressed their disappointment following claims made to His Royal Highness that farmers were using chemicals banned more than two decades ago. MICK TSIKAS

Bundy's cane farmers backed amid royal pollution fears

BUNDABERG cane growers are "going above and beyond” to implement best environmental practices, a spokesman for the region's peak body for natural resource management says.

Burnett Mary Regional Group communication and engagement manager Dean Collins' backing comes in the wake of farmer frustrations following unsubstantiated and general comments made to Prince Charles about ongoing pollution problems.

A comment from His Royal Highnesses that he had heard claims some farmers were still using chemicals banned more than two decades ago has sparked disappointment within cane farming circles.

Speaking strictly about the work done by Bundaberg and Isis cane growers, Mr Collins said farmers were working with the group to minimise their environmental footprint.

While the group does not regulate, Mr Collins said they do facilitate a range of projects which cane growers are a part of.

"The Paddock to Reef project is a monitoring, modelling and reporting program, with specific targets for reef water quality,” he said.

Mr Collins said the innovative work of Isis farmer Chris Russo was recognised last year.

In November, Mr Russo won the Reef Nutrient Management Award for his innovative modification of a high clearance tractor and nitrogen injection bar to apply liquid nitrogen subsurface, allowing later nitrogen application.

Chairman of Canegrowers Queensland Paul Schembri said the industry was committed to playing its part to secure the future of the reef.

"Almost three quarters of the cane farming area of Queensland has been voluntarily enrolled in our industry best management practices program, Smartcane BMP, by growers who are committed to farming for sustainability as well as productivity and profitability,” he said.

During his visit to Lady Elliot Island on Friday, Prince Charles met with business and tourism leaders where they held a round table to discuss the future of the reef.



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