Productivity doubling thanks to positive approach to innovation


Clint and Veronica Reynolds have been working hard to make their family sugarcane farm north in Mossman, Far North Queensland as productive and efficient as possible.

A fourth generation grower, Clint Reynolds' family initially began farming in the area at Mowbray, where the home farm is still located. Thirty-five years ago Clint's father John purchased a 1500 acre (607 ha) farm at Daintree, which Clint and Veronica now call home.

In addition to helping run his father's 1500 acre (607 ha) farm, Clint has recently taken over the running of the original cane farm at Mowbray, after leasing it from his father.

"Veronica and I also lease another farm as well, and cut about 2,500 tonne of cane from this leased block in town. We have worked hard on the block and the hard work has paid off, as last season the farm lifted in production by about 23%, and this year we hope it will increase by about 50%, since taking the lease farm on," says Clint.

Clint's family are 130-year stalwarts of the local area, and his father was one of the first in the region to implement green cane trashblanketing more than 20 years ago.

Since then, the family's innovative spirit certainly hasn't faded and Clint has recently implemented a number of practices which have increased efficiency and have had positive environmental impacts too.

In 2009, the farm received assistance from the federal government's Reef Rescue program to purchase a stool splitter, which helps to apply fertiliser exactly where it is needed, minimising the opportunity for run off, and protecting the water quality.

GPS has also been implemented on the Reynolds' farm in the form of a part-Reef Rescue-funded guidance system, used at the moment for targeted fallow spraying.

The Reef Rescue funding helped the Reynolds bring these important projects online sooner than they otherwise would have been able. The farm has also recently received some assistance through the Water Quality Management program, run through Terrain NRM, for some spoon drainage work which has reduced sediment run-off.

Although the state government's reef regulations have not immediately affected the Reynolds' on-farm work, Clint says the regulations have increased the amount of paper work immensely.

"The wording 'reef regulations' are exactly right – they do nothing but regulate," he says. "I feel the Reef Rescue program has had a more positive impact on the environment as it's on the ground. It's not just filling in paperwork." "With Reef Rescue you are doing something proactive, and not only that, it's voluntary."

Clint Reynolds
Image courtesy Reef Rescue