This article was originally published in print in The Herbert River Express on April 22 2017
HERBERT Cane Productivity Services Limited manager Lawrence Di Bella said sugar cane would always be the region’s major crop, but breaking cane monoculture was important to ensure a sustainable cane industry long term.
“Rotational cropping gives the cane industry an opportunity to improve soil health,” he said.
Mr Di Bella said the Hinchinbrook region would be suitable for cultivating various types of beans and legumes, melons, pumpkins, potatoes, bananas, maize and rice, among other products, through trials conducted at his Forresthome property.
But the trials didn’t come without their risks.
“One of the biggest challenges for the region, is the lack of irrigation water and infrastructure to grow these crops over the dry season,” Mr Di Bella said.
“Lack of grain harvesting, storage and handling is also a huge issue.”
“Crop agronomy is very different for these crops and growers may need support to achieve good yields and good prices for quality products.”
This comes after Mayor Ramon Jayo said Hinchinbrook Shire Council was working with government departments, landowners and HCPSL. He said Council spoke to representatives at the Department of State Development regarding seed funding for interested graziers, as part of the $130 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.