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Mossman cane industry – Participative extension for best management practice.

Daryl Parker and Allan Rudd

Mossman Agricultural Services, PO Box 191, Mossman Qld 4873. Email


Mossman Agricultural Services (MAS) is a private company that provides a range of services to clients in the cane industry including productivity advice to growers. As part of this role they have secured a four year project funded through the Sugar Research and Development Corporation (SRDC) to improve the sustainability of the local industry.

A process of voluntary self-assessment of Best Management Practice (BMP) has been developed locally to target farming practices that have an impact on sediment and nutrient movement from cane fields to waterways and ultimately into the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon. The self-assessment process was developed in the Mossman area by Mossman Agricultural Services (MAS) in consultation with staff from other industry partners and under the broader Douglas Shire Council Water Quality Improvement Program.

Farmers were asked to complete a self-assessment form at a series of end of season shed meetings in 2003. This self-assessment process forms the basis on which an extension program to target areas of low adoption of BMP was developed.

The process involved a series of questions that led participants through the stages of:

    • Self-assessment of current management

    • Validation of BMP

    • Identification of impediments to adopt BMP

    • Actions required to overcome impediments

    • Actions prioritised

    • Extension program developed.

    • An Eco-Accreditation process has also been developed to follow on from this self-assessment program.

This extension process was used as part of the annual series of shed meetings conducted by MAS in the Mossman coastal area using participative workshop techniques.

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