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Future farming tech a ‘sweet spot’ for growers at national Sugar Conference

Future innovation was the centrepiece at a major sugar cane conference in Toowoomba yesterday (April 30).

More than 400 people, including growers from Mossman in Far North Queensland to Maclean in New South Wales, will attend the annual Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ASSCT) conference.

Hosted across three days by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), it is the first time in nearly a century the conference has been held outside a sugarcane-growing region.

USQ Professor Bernard Schroeder, ASSCT President, said it was a reflection of what the University had to offer.

“This year’s theme is ‘Broadening Our Horizons’ which is exactly what USQ researchers are trying to do through the use of automation and robotics, as well as data,” Professor Schroeder said.

“The sugar industry is facing some difficult problems at the moment.

“Poor weather conditions coupled with low sugar prices across the world is causing productivity to slow so we have to be innovative.”

Professor Craig Baillie, who heads USQ’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering, said the conference was a chance for growers to work with industry affiliates and enable their potential.

“A farmer generally has only 40 chances to grow a crop in their lifetime which is a sobering thought,” Professor Baillie said.

“To be sustainable into the future, we must be willing to turn problems into new opportunities which is why we are here today.”

The conference runs until May 3.

For the full program, visit ASSCT.

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USQ Professor Bernard Schroeder, President of ASSCT, said the sugar industry is facing some difficult problems at the moment.