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$3m for digital exercise

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, May 17, 2014

THE digital mapping of cane fields in the Western Division using global positioning satellite systems is the first step towards a revolutionary move by the sugar industry to increase cane quality and yield.

Sugar Industry Tribunal commissioner Tim Brown says once the program is completed, every farm, road, culvert and tramline will be captured in the digital realm.

"We can do much with this information, especially when it is linked to the cane quality payment system that we are going to introduce this year," Mr Brown said.

He said the process could take close to two years to complete at a cost of about $3million.

"We have completed Drasa and Lovu in Lautoka, these are our pilot projects.

"The farms are mapped in blocks. So when cane is harvested from a particular block, this information is put into the NIR (near-infra-red cane quality payment system) when it enters the mill for processing.

"When it is measured, we get a lot of information in terms of how much fertiliser was used, the pure obtainable cane sugar or POCS, and the soil quality for that particular block.

"This will allow us to go to farms and reassess how much fertiliser is being used and farm advisers can address issues like cane uptake and loss due to floods and heavy rain."

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