Sunday, 31 March 2013

Houma And Sugarcane.

After meeting with crop consulting icon Mr Ray Young I was off to Houma to visit the USDA sugar research unit and finally people that knew what sugarcane is. My primary contact there was Dr Ryan Viator, and he kindly hosted me whilst in Houma. I have to say how impressive this guy is he has a very grounded approach to research and when I said that I was amazed that he had Phd, he quickly responded "that he was simply a farmer that can take good notes". We had many conversations about soil health and pondered how to incorporate a beneficial companion crop to add diversity to a monoculture like sugarcane. What has become apparent to me that throughout my travels and many meetings in the freezing climate of Saskatchewan to the more tempid lands of Louisiana. People with a lot more science knowledge than I believe there is much to gain from inter cropping. It was interesting to see the importance that the farmers give to good research and good real world outcomes , this is where I think the Australian research model could learn something. At Houma these guys who many of whom held doctorates where out in the field consistently speaking with farmers, in most cases they were the conduit between research and implementation. It seems that we in Australia are going in the opposite direction distancing research from the end users.

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