THROUGHOUT the International Sugarcane Forum, a clear message was conveyed - that there have been major inroads in developing a sustainable, collaborative sugarcane industry.
The inaugural forum was hosted by Case IH on the Gold Coast from December 14 to 16, and attracted cane farmers from across Queensland and northern NSW, as well as international delegates.
Tweed Valley cane farmer and Bonsucro founding committee member Robert Quirk was one of the speakers at the event, and discussed the growing need for industry certification.
Bonsucro is a not-for-profit organisation that is helping to develop a sustainable sugarcane sector through its metric-based certification scheme.
Mr Quirk said sugar was one of the last industries in Australia that was not required to meet certification standards.
He said NSW, which accounted for 5 per cent of Australia's cane-growing area, was 100pc Bonsucro certified, with strong Queensland interest in the program.
He said Queensland farmers were some of the best in the world, but he envisaged certification would be necessary to sell cane in the future.
"In Queensland it looks like Smartcane BMP will be the catalyst to get you to the Bonsucro standard, where you can be audited. You must have a background document and show how you got there - it looks like Smartcane BMP will be it."
Mr Quirk's 106-hectare family farm is located between Tweed Heads and Duranbah in NSW.
Since changing his farming system to meet the Bonsucro standard, Mr Quirk has experienced numerous positive results, including increasing productivity by 75pc.
Other outcomes included reducing fertiliser application by 30pc, herbicide application by 50pc and fuel usage has been cut by 47pc.