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  • Writer's pictureAshlee Reddacliff, Farmacist Extension Agronomist

Col Bourke - champion grower!

Advocate for good chemical records

Colin Bourke (Canegrowers BMP Accredited grower) grew up on the family farm near Carmila and has made a career of sugarcane farming since 1988. Col has seen and made a lot of changes to the way he grows cane over the years on his 80ha farm. Cutting green, changing row spacing and cultivation methods have all been adopted in the continual process of improving productivity. Now, Col is one of Project Bluewater’s champion growers when it comes to record keeping.


Colin Bourke (Canegrowers BMP Accredited grower) grew up on the family farm near Carmila and has made a career of sugarcane farming since 1988. Col has seen and made a lot of changes to the way he grows cane over the years on his 80ha farm. Cutting green, changing row spacing and cultivation methods have all been adopted in the continual process of improving productivity. Now, Col is one of Project Bluewater’s champion growers when it comes to record keeping.


“It was just brilliant! Adam came in and set us straight… It really just took the pressure off us,” said Col.

A boom-spray assessment was completed, with the GBRF funded project providing parts to upgrade the machine with new compliant nozzles. Adam also worked with him to develop a pesticide management plan. This resulted in some changes to his herbicide program so that he was compliant with buffer zones near creeks, timber lines and on sloping country. The plan also included the most up-to-date information on regulations and product label changes.


In 2021 Col got re-audited and passed with flying colours. He is now one of Project Bluewater’s champion record keepers. By jotting down notes in a notebook and transferring them into a Canegrowers chemical record book, Col finds this method the most efficient for him. He records all of the necessary information at the time of spraying such as weather conditions, chemical rates and sprayed area, and later that day adds all other information into the Canegrowers supplied record book. Although doing it right takes a little bit longer, he says it’s straight forward and simple. In the future, though, Col indicated he will be keen to move to electronic record keeping and is excited to see what role Farmacist will play with their stream-lined digital record keeping app, Farmacist Connect.


Contact Farmacist today to receive a fully compliant chemical record book (sugarcane or grazing), or to see if you are eligible to join Project Bluewater to receive 12 months of pesticide advice and large range of services.


Project Bluewater is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.


To download and print article, use link below:

Col Bourke Case Study Feb2023
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