USQ grows partnership with sugar industry

23 April 2012
Professor Graham Baker (USQ), Greg Beashel (QSL), Andrew Harrison (QSL) and Professor Roger Stone (USQ).

A research partnership announced between the Queensland sugar industry and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is destined to bring a much sweeter outlook to the future of sugar cane growing.

Queensland Sugar Ltd (QSL) executives visited the University’s Toowoomba campus today (April 19) to look at how the two organisations can use research from USQ’s Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments to better plan the growing cycles for the State’s multi-billion dollar industry.

Centre Director and Professor of Climatology and Water Science, Roger Stone, said that under the agreement QSL will help fund research to provide new climate risk information for the sugar industry.

‘It can cost the sugar industry hundreds of millions of dollars if an assessment of the climate pattern is wrong,’ Professor Stone explained.

‘Armed with the right knowledge the industry can actually forward-plan a lot more efficiently.’

QSL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Greg Beashel said Queensland’s $2 billion sugar industry would benefit immeasurably from the information provided by USQ.

He said sugar was the most volatile commodity in terms of price so it was extremely important for growers and industry players to have solid information on which to base their projections.

‘There are about 3000 canegrowers in Queensland so this project is also about bringing the climate science to them, getting them to understand it and then to influence how they will plan and manage their crops,” Mr Beashel said.

‘Our view is that Professor Stone and his team are the best in the world in this field so I’m confident they can help us to get the best outcomes we need.’

Workshops to explain the research are currently happening in cane growing areas and Mr Beashel said the industry was already benefiting from USQ’s research.

The project is a world-first in this type of integrated systems research that aims to combine climate science with industry management on a major scale.

In addition, important cane and sugar yield forecasting that will be integrated with climate science information will be done through James Cook University under a sub-contract to USQ for this project.

A further key role for USQ is the development of highly-detailed GIS/remote sensing data and analysis that will be able to determine the likelihood of the exact percentage of fields in all sugar growing regions of Queensland that would be subject to water logging, and therefore unable to be harvested.


Contact Details:
Jim Campbell, USQ Media, +617 4631 2977

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