Thursday, May 16, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Harvesting Opportunities From Inaugural Sugar Cubed Conference

A brighter future for Queensland’s sugarcane industry was the focus as more than 100 growers and industry leaders gathered in Mackay last week for the inaugural Sugar Cubed conference.
The two-day event featured a lineup of expert speakers, many at the forefront of innovations in the sugarcane industry and the Australian bioeconomy.
Jet Zero CEO Ed Mason, Qantas Head of Sustainable Aviation Fuel Graeme Potger, KPMG Origins CEO Laszlo Peter, Coca Cola’s Head of Sugar Procurement Pete Greenwell, and head of Evidn behavioural science Dr John Pickering were among the speakers who shared insights.
The program covered a variety of topics, from the development of a sugarcane-based Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) industry in Queensland to strategies for creating a more profitable future for growers and improving market access for sustainably produced Australian Sugar.
Practical challenges around research and development, farm productivity, and harvest and mill reliability were also discussed.
Attendees participated in field trips, including visits to local sugar mills, farm tours, and a trip to Mackay’s bulk sugar terminal and biorefinery.
CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens emphasised the aim of Sugar Cubed was to provide growers with an annual industry event where they could come together to learn and discuss challenges and opportunities.
“There are so many vital and evolving aspects of our industry,” Mr Menkens said.
“From technological advancements to variety development, harvesting constraints, milling sector sustainability, opportunities in sugar supply chain traceability, marketing and trade access, the emerging bioeconomy, the list is endless and the opportunity to work together as an industry is now.
“But until now, we’ve never had a major forum where growers could come together to learn about and discuss these issues and explore the opportunities together.
“The Sugar Cubed Conference, which has been developed by CANEGROWERS, aims to address the big issues growers want to discuss and see how we can work collaboratively across the industry to bring about success for everyone.”
The conference kicked off with field trips on 8 May, followed by keynote speakers and panel discussions at the Mackay Rydges Suites on 9 May.

L-R: Pete Greenwell - Head of Sugar Procurement for Coca-Cola EuroPacific Partners (the largest purchasers of sugar in Australia), Matt Kealley – CANEGROWERS Membership and Innovation Manager, Graeme Poyger – Qantas Head of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Ed Mason – Jet Zero CEO and Founder, Shannon Guy – QSL Grower Services Manager

Field trips across key sugar-growing locations in the Mackay region. Photos supplied

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