CATEGORY: SUSTAINABILITY (GROWER)
Bundaberg sugar cane grower Jack Russo has moved to include macadamias and peanuts in his sugar enterprise as he strives to produce a sustainable farming operation.
The inclusion of both crops has been a deliberate move to provide a more sustainable and profitable return from the 500ha he farms with his family.
The fourth-generation sugar cane grower has embraced changes required to make his business more sustainable, including the use of a break crop – peanuts – to lessen the disease pressure on his sugar cane crops. And peanuts, being a legume, have also fixed nitrogen into the soil which has cut down the requirement for the nutrient.
Conscious of the impact of his farming practices on the environment and given his proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Jack designed his own fertiliser application equipment which can deliver nutrients into the root zone and decrease the chance of run-off into water ways.
Jack says his drive towards sustainability has “made me stop and consider all of my farming practices and make changes in areas that I would never have considered previously”.
This is self-evident in the raft of changes adopted in the farming operation, with more efficient pumps, the planting of macadamias which need less water to grow, and controlled traffic farming.
“It’s important to always be on the lookout for different and better ways of doing things,” Jack says.