Implementation of controlled traffic farming of sugarcane in the Herbert River district : SRDC Grower Group Innovation Project final report GGP003
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The Pinnacle Precision Farming (PPF) Group was formed with the goal of implementing and benefiting from the principals of controlled traffic farming using techniques being used by the Sugar Yield Decline Joint Venture Team on a trial and demonstration plot located on the farm operated by Ed Morris located in Toobanna. However we could not envisage a Double Disc Opener Planter (DDOP) being viable unless it was able to successfully plant cane billets instead of using whole cane stalk planters as used by the SYDJV Team.We had anticipated a Precision Billet Planter being developed by the BSES but it did not eventuate and we did not think it would be capable of dealing with most of the planting material available at most times. Sprawly cane and some varieties do not always provide good planting material.A decision was made to modify an existing proven billet planter design to use the concept of double disc openers capable of planting sugar cane into preformed beds in a no till or minimum till method. Rather than sacrifice a new planter and also to keep costs down. A second hand HBM Billet Planter was purchased and the following modifications were carried out.We also saw the need to develop a bed former, which would work satisfactory in a green cane farming system. The bed former would have to be able to work in trashier conditions as all the sugar cane in the Herbert is harvested green and most farmers prefer to return their organic matter to the soil. Most of the commercially available bed formers are designed to work in a trash and crop residue free situation. We settled on a concept of an implement designed to reform cane rows after harvesting and cultivation in the Burdekin irrigated cane lands.