17 Questions

Most cane growers are familiar with the '17 Questions', but what are they and how are they used?

The 17 questions that growers are often asked, particularly if you're applying for Government funding, is used by the Paddock to Reef Integrated Modelling, Monitoring and Reporting Program. Otherwise known as the Paddock to Reef Program or P2R.

This program provides a benchmark of current agricultural practices across the Wet Tropics and measures improvements.

The measured change from this benchmarking data is combined with the results of water quality monitoring and modelled to predict the impact of the change of farming practices to water quality flowing into the Reef lagoon.

The results of this modelling are reported annually in the Reef Report Card to show progress towards the nutrient, pesticide and sediment reduction targets set in the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan.

 

The 17 Questions

Question / CodePractice Description
Soil Management
1Do you normally use a green cane trash blanket?
No
Sometimes
Yes, standard practice
2Which best describes how machinery traffic is managed on your farm?
All machines including harvesters and haul outs operate on the same wheel spacing's
Machinery used for bed forming, planting, spraying etc all operates on the same wheel spacings. Harvesters and haul outs operate on different wheel spacings
All machines operate on different wheel spacings
3What is your current row width?
Less than 1.6
1.6 - 1.79
1.8 - 2.0
More than 2.0
4Which best describes your normal fallow management?
No fallow - Usually plough out and replant
Usually maintain bare fallow, through either cultivation or herbicides
Weedy or grassy fallow
Retain trash blanket and control any weeds with herbicides
Full cultivation before planting legume/cover crop or annual horticulture crop
Zonal-tilled legume/cover crop
Zero tillage legume/cover crop
5How do you normally prepare land for planting of cane?
Full cultivation (>5 passes)
Reduced cultivation (<5 passes)
Zonal tillage only
No tillage
Nutrient Management
6Which best describes how you calculate your N fertiliser rate?
Greater than Six Easy Steps guideline rates
I use Six Easy Steps guideline rates based on achieving District Yield Potential
I use Six Easy Steps guideline rates based on achieving district yield potential, I also reduce my rate if I have applied mill mud/ash or have grown a legume or horticultural crop
I calculate my own rate using Six Easy Steps (or similar method) with yield potential based on my own farm or block yield history
I calculate my own rates using Six Easy Steps (or similar method) with yield potential based on my own farm or block yield history. Rates applied vary within the block
What cane yield (tonnes cane per hectare) do you expect your farm will produce in a moderate- good season without any major problems (like cyclones and flooding)?
Plant cane
Ratoon cane
Late ratoon
What is the nitrogen fertiliser rate that you generally apply under ‘normal’ conditions?
Fallow Plant following worked or sprayed fallow
Fallow plant following a good legume crop
Ploughout Replant
Ratoon cane
Late cut/lower yield potential ratoon cane
7Which best describes the placement of your N fertiliser?
Surface - Granular
Surface - liquid
Surface but incorporated by overhead irrigation.
Subsurface
8What % of your farm do you apply mill mud/ash to each year?
Don't apply mud or ash
less than 10%
10 to 50%
50% to 70%
70 to 100%
9At what rate do you apply mill mud or mud/ash?
Don't apply mud or ash
Banded or zonal application, less than 100 wet tonnes per hectare
Broadcast application, less than 100 wet tonnes per hectare
Broadcast application, between 100 - 150 wet tonnes per hectare
Broadcast application, more than 150 wet tonnes per hectare
Herbicide Management
10Which best describes how you apply residual herbicides? (assume all are as per label requirements)
Complete coverage across the paddock.
Bandspraying of residuals. Inter-rows managed with knockdowns.
No use of residuals
Complete coverage across the paddock but incorporate by overhead irrigation within 3 weeks of application
11Which best describes how you use residuals in ratoons? (Assumption that all are as per label requirements)
Whenever considered useful. Multiple applications if required.
Single application in each ratoon crop
I use knockdowns plus 'spike' rate of residuals (e.g. less than 500g of Diuron) on all blocks
Plan on using knockdowns only in ratoons. Residual use only in problem blocks or situations.
Don't require residuals in ratoons at all.
Water Management
12Do you measure the volume of water applied with each irrigation?
I don't irrigate
Yes
No
How much water do you use on your farm Megalitres/ha/yr?
13What is your main method of irrigation?
Furrow
Low Pressure Overhead
High Pressure Overhead (e.g. winch)
Drip irrigation
14Which best describes irrigation runoff in your situation?
No irrigation run-off
Limited run-off on occasions
Most irrigated blocks have some run-off
Irrigation water lost from all blocks each irrigation
15What irrigation scheduling tools do you use?
None
Soil moisture probes such as capacitance probes, tensiometers, or gypsum blocks (such as Gdot).
Mini pans
Estimation of daily crop water use, using crop factors and evapotranspiration estimates, or crop model software (e.g. Irrigweb).
16Which best describes how you deal with irrigation runoff?
No farm runoff or tailwater is captured
Recycle pit/s are not in place across all of the farm. Only some blocks drain into recycle pits.
Recycle pit/s capture most runoff, most of the time. Re-use can be limited by pumping capacity at times.
Recycle pit/s capture all irrigation runoff, pumping capacity allows rapid re-use of recycled water
Recycle pit/s capture all irrigation runoff AND some rainfall runoff. Pumping capacity allows rapid re-use of recycled water
17Which best describes how you deal with rainfall runoff?
Headlands and drains are not specifically designed to prevent erosion and are sprayed out and/or cultivated
Headlands and drains are designed to prevent erosion & are maintained with grass cover.
As above, AND with sediment traps successfully addressing targeted issues.
As above, AND with farm layout (including row orientation) designed to direct all paddock runoff safely to such grassed headlands/waterways, sediment traps, and other control structures.

 

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