Increasing in-mill NIR effectiveness and communicating data to all sectors for improved decision making in the sugarcane value chain : SRDC final report CSR038
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In 2005 Mackay Sugar introduced changes to their cane payment formula that primarily used Near Infra Red (NIR) data as the basis for grower payments. The cane payment system was based on the principle of sharing risks and rewards, and removing obstacles to cooperation between industry sectors. The confidence gained from Mackay Sugar’s introduction of NIR technology and it’s subsequent acceptance by industry stakeholders in the Mackay Sugar region was initially the basis on which CSR developed a project proposal that sought as one of it’s objectives to further advance NIR technology in association with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) into precision agriculture (PA). Advancement in PA offered an opportunity to improve the productivity, profitability and environmental performance of the growing and harvesting sector through the use of NIR generated data. To gain the necessary benefits, further development of NIR calibrations, particularly in plant nutrients needed to be undertaken. At the commencement of the project CSR had an undertaking to introduce NIR technologies into their factories starting with an installation at Invicta Mill. Unfortunately after a series of events that eventually lead to CSR abandoning the introduction of NIR technology, the project was redefined at the start of the 2008 season under the management of Mackay Sugar staff. The failure of CSR to provide data as detailed in the original project proposal did have an effect on some outcomes and is reported in the details of the final report.