Region: Wet Tropics

Who: Stephen Accornero

Location: Foresthome

Profitability of corn as a rotation crop

Stephen Accornero farms 485 hectares of cane land in three areas around Ingham; at Foresthome, Abergowrie and Bambaroo.

It’s a family business for Stephen, with his father growing cane in the Ingham region before him and Stephen’s son Brenden now working alongside him. Stephen also employs one full timer to work across these three properties.

Previously, Stephen fallowed his land from cane for 18 months growing instead, a crop of corn which ended up turning a profit.

Growing corn as a rotation to his sugarcane is the basis of Steven’s project for Project Catalyst.

Stephen has also improved his farming practice through the federal government’s Reef Programme (formerly Reef Rescue).

Issues being addressed

Not only was Stephen’s corn crop turning a profit but Stephen believes he was also getting an improvement in his cane yield after growing the corn. However, this perception was by observation only, as Stephen never actually properly measured the gain in cane yield.

The questions Stephen wanted to answer were – was the gain he believes he observed because of the corn or because of the 18 month without cane? Furthermore, was growing corn economically beneficial or would he have been better off just growing cane?

Issues being addressed

Stephen has set up his trial on a block that was fallowed in November 2011. On this 3.3 hectare block, in May 2012, Stephen planted three strips of corn and left three strips fallow. Corn was harvested in late 2012 & cane planted across the block in 2013.

In 2014 cane was harvested from each strip to supply data for an initial economic analysis which has not yet been completed. Cane yield from this trial will be measured for a full crop cycle.

Although Stephen has some early data, he will not have complete results for a full crop cycle.

Stephen Accornero is trialling corn as a rotation crop in sugarcane – as well as his corn crop turning a profit, Stephen believes he has observed an improvement in his cane yield.

Accornero Plant Cane Harvest Results – Graph

Accornero Plant Cane Harvest Results - Graph