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Harvest Mate app helps cane growers’ yield

Economic resilience harvest mate app
Cane growers in the Bundaberg Region can now have access to the new Harvest Mate app to help capture additional sugar yield from their crops.

Cane growers in the Bundaberg Region can now have access to the new Harvest Mate app to help capture additional sugar yield from their crops.

The new decision support tool helps sugarcane growers make more profitable decisions at harvest time and it was launched in Queensland recently.

The Harvest Mate app, developed through a collaboration between the Palaszczuk Government and Sugar Research Australia (SRA), is designed to help growers capture additional sugar yield from their paddocks.

Research showed optimised harvester settings have the potential to add $44 million to annual grower revenue across Queensland for green harvested sugarcane.

The decision support tool uses data collected by SRA from years of trials across the sugar industry and is supported by detailed economic data collected and analysed by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

Harvest Mate is designed to use growers’ block and crop information in addition to harvester, haul-out and labour details and harvest conditions to predict optimal harvester settings.

SRA agricultural machinery specialist Phil Patane said the app was developed to fill the knowledge gap for growers.

“In 2019 SRA received 148 responses to a survey that asked growers and harvesting contractors about their harvesting practice.

“The vast majority of recipients told us that they didn't know the cost of harvesting versus the yield benefits when changing from their current practices.

“Harvest Mate has been developed to fill that knowledge gap and increase profitability.

“It’s been developed to be user-friendly, which we hope is reflected in the name.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the app would be helpful from start to finish in the harvesting cycle.

“Harvest Mate will assist primary producers in setting up their harvesters, supplementing their wealth of knowledge and experience with data,” he said.

“This will help Queensland sugarcane growers extract the greatest possible value out of their harvest.

“A better harvest means more revenue for primary producers, supporting employment opportunities and the local economies of Queensland’s sugar communities.

“Harvest Mate is an innovation delivered with the help of the Palaszczuk Government that will be of great benefit to growers at a time when cost of living is a concern.”

Roadshows for the app have been held across cane growing regions, including Bundaberg, in the last two months by SRA.

Growers can register at the Harvest Mate website then download the app for free from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.