Manuel Muscat

Region: Mackay

Mill region:Sarina

Property size: 242 ha

Trial area: 11.9 ha

Catchment: Alligator Creek

Mixing it up to reduce erosion

The Mackay Whitsunday region covers an enviable area of the Queensland coast, where tropical islands rise in azure waters adjacent to mountainous ranges. For 43 years the Muscat family have been working the land at the foothills of the Sarina Ranges, South of Mackay. When Manuel arrived aged 9 with his dad the land would only support couch grass. Now farming sugarcane over 600 acres with his wife and children, as a third-generation grower, he reflects on the changes to practices in the last 80 years since his father’s time when machinery was introduced.

According to Manuel, what came after that was ‘small steps’ in comparison to these major changes. “My biggest concern now is no more big milestones – I can’t see any – like, for us – you know, to make a buck you’ve got to shave a bit here, save a bit there, we’ve gotten to the stage where we can’t shave anymore.” In 2015 Manuel conceded to install GPS, as technology makes its mark on all aspects of modern life. “We built a high-rise, spray tractor 25 years ago and we were sort of laughed at, ‘what would you want of those for’….and now it’s what you need to have.