Sugar industry

There are 17 sugar industry partners within the Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership who are also part of the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP).

They include industry bodies, productivity services, sugar researchers, millers, natural resource management groups and government organisations, who are working together to provide one-on-one training and extension services to growers to help them make practice change.

This partnership is the first of its kind in Australia and it is a significant step forward for the industry to make collective decisions and share learnings across the region for the good of the industry overall, with a special focus on improving the region’s water quality. There are a range of innovative projects underway to achieve this.

In 2015-16, steady improvements were made in best practices with respect to sediment control, and fertiliser and pesticide application (shown in the table below).

Pollutant % Best Practice Adoption (area) by year
2013 Baseline 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2015-16 Hectares
Soil management to reduced sediments in waterways 41 45 46 52 71,363
Fertiliser regimes to reduce nutrients in waterways 5 9 10 16 21,804
Pesticides regimes to reduce pesticides in waterways 12 20 24 30 40,862

The proportion of area under moderate to low risk (or best practice), moderate risk, and high risk  practices for each pollutant as reported annually since the 2013 baseline is shown in the table below.

Sediment/Soil Baseline 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Low risk 9% 13% 14% 14%
Moderate risk 31% 32% 32% 38%
Moderate-high risk 43% 42% 42% 36%
High risk 16% 12% 12% 12%
Nutrients/fertiliser Baseline 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Low risk 2% 8% 8% 10%
Moderate risk 3% 1% 2% 6%
Moderate-high risk 89% 86% 85% 84%
High risk 6% 5% 5% 0%
Pesticides Baseline 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Low risk 4% 4% 5% 5%
Moderate-low risk 8% 16% 19% 25%
Moderate-high risk 81% 75% 71% 70%
High risk 7% 5% 5% 0%

The data from the last column (2015-16) from the table above is shown in the graph below.

The specific Key Practices and the area under each practice as reported annually since the 2013 baseline is shown in the table below.

Key practices Area under best practice
2013 Baseline 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Green cane trash blanketing 98.46% 9846% 98.46% 98.47%
Fallow management 52.00% 56.97% 58.39% 63.42%
Controlled machinery traffic 39.00% 43.50% 43.63% 48.26%
Tillage - plant cane 30.80% 36.01% 38.30% 47.15%
Nitrogen surplus 5.36% 9.20% 9.33% 15.54%
Fertiliser placement 73.27% 75.87% 76.51% 81.75%
Residual herbicide targeting 12.29% 20.04% 23.43% 29.43%
Residual herbicide strategy 49.67% 56.40% 59.59% 66.24%

Percentage (%) of area using best management practice of sediment, nutrients and pesticides in sugarcane production for basins of the Wet Tropics region as reported annually since the 2013 baseline is shown in the table below shown.

Sugarcane Daintree Mossman baseline Daintree Mossman 2013-14 Daintree Mossman 2014-15 Daintree Mossman 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.2% 8.2% 8.2% 8.2%
Moderate 34.8% 34.8% 34.8% 35.3%
Moderate-high 57.0% 57.0% 57.0% 56.5%
High 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Nutrient
Low 3.8% 3.8% 3.8% 3.8%
Moderate 4.0% 12.7% 12.7% 12.8%
Moderate-high 90.2% 81.4% 81.4% 81.5%
High 1.8% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8%
Pesticide
Low 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Moderate 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 17.1%
Moderate-high 92.0% 92.0% 92.0% 82.7%
High 3.9% 3.9% 3.9% 0.1%
Sugarcane Upper Barron baseline Upper Barron 2013-14 Upper Barron 2014-15 Upper Barron 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.3% 8.3% 8.3% 8.3%
Moderate 35.3% 35.3% 35.3% 36.2%
Moderate-high 56.3% 56.3% 56.3% 55.5%
High 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Nutrient
Low 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Moderate 4.6% 6.6% 6.6% 7.7%
Moderate-high 82.4% 80.3% 80.3% 90.7%
High 13.0% 13.0% 13.0% 0.7%
Pesticide
Low 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Moderate 28.0% 28.0% 28.0% 37.0%
Moderate-high 70.0% 70.0% 70.0% 63.0%
High 2.4% 2.4% 2.4% 0.0%
Sugarcane Mulgrave baseline Mulgrave 2013-14 Mulgrave 2014-15 Mulgrave 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.2% 8.2% 8.2% 8.2%
Moderate 30.7% 42.1% 42.1% 45.7%
Moderate-high 20.8% 13.0% 13.0% 9.5%
High 40.3% 36.7% 36.7% 36.7%
Nutrient
Low 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
Moderate 3.0% 6.9% 8.3% 9.4%
Moderate-high 90.8% 86.9% 85.6% 85.6%
High 3.2% 3.2% 3.2% 2.0%
Pesticide
Low 7.0% 7.0% 7.0% 7.0%
Moderate 5.0% 7.3% 17.5% 19.3%
Moderate-high 66.0% 67.7% 57.5% 57.5%
High 22.0% 18.0% 18.0% 16.2%
Sugarcane Russell baseline Russell 2013-14 Russell 2014-15 Russell 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.3% 8.3% 8.3% 8.3%
Moderate 21.5% 23.6% 27.4% 31.0%
Moderate-high 17.1% 14.9% 11.2% 7.6%
High 53.2% 53.2% 53.2% 53.2%
Nutrient
Low 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Moderate 4.0% 4.7% 4.7% 8.3%
Moderate-high 96.0% 95.3% 95.3% 91.7%
High 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pesticide
Low 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
Moderate 5.0% 5.0% 14.0% 14.0%
Moderate-high 88.0% 88.6% 79.5% 79.5%
High 5.0% 4.4% 4.4% 4.4%
Sugarcane Johnstone baseline Johnstone 2013-14 Johnstone 2014-15 Johnstone 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.2% 8.2% 11.5% 11.5%
Moderate 25.4% 30.8% 28.5% 48.9%
Moderate-high 14.9% 9.4% 9.4% 1.4%
High 51.6% 51.6% 50.6% 38.3%
Nutrient
Low 1.0% 1.0% 1.0% 1.1%
Moderate 1.0% 4.3% 7.1% 41.7%
Moderate-high 96.9% 93.5% 90.7% 57.2%
High 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 0.0%
Pesticide
Low 6.0% 6.0% 13.5% 13.5%
Moderate 5.0% 5.0% 8.7% 15.0%
Moderate-high 70.0% 81.1% 69.8% 70.1%
High 19.0% 7.9% 7.9% 1.3%
Sugarcane Tully Murray baseline Tully Murray 2013-14 Tully Murray 2014-15 Tully Murray 2015-16
Soil
Low 8.2% 8.2% 8.2% 8.2%
Moderate 41.4% 46.5% 49.0% 55.6%
Moderate-high 37.4% 32.3% 29.8% 23.2%
High 13.0% 13.0% 13.0% 13.0%
Nutrient
Low 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0%
Moderate 4.0% 7.0% 7.0% 7.0%
Moderate-high 83.8% 80.7% 80.7% 82.0%
High 8.0% 8.2% 8.2% 7.0%
Pesticide
Low 0.0% 0.0% 0.6% 0.6%
Moderate 15.0% 16.7% 19.5% 21.1%
Moderate-high 76.0% 75.4% 72.4% 73.0%
High 9.3% 8.3% 7.8% 5.3%
Sugarcane Herbert baseline Herbert 2013-14 Herbert 2014-15 Herbert 2015-16
Soil
Low 10.2% 10.2% 11.2% 11.7%
Moderate 30.4% 38.3% 37.2% 41.7%
Moderate-high 58.7% 50.8% 50.8% 46.3%
High 0.7% 0.7% 0.7% 0.3%
Nutrient
Low 2.0% 3.0% 3.0% 7.9%
Moderate 3.0% 2.6% 3.0% 4.3%
Moderate-high 87.8% 87.2% 86.8% 87.1%
High 7.2% 7.2% 7.2% 0.7%
Pesticide
Low 7.0% 7.0% 7.8% 7.8%
Moderate 5.0% 5.8% 6.3% 14.4%
Moderate-high 83.0% 82.2% 81.2% 77.7%
High 5.0% 5.0% 4.7% 0.1%