Since becoming Farm Manager for Faust Farming, Shane Butler has actively set out to initiate better farming techniques and be a catalyst for change - Shane originally began his career as a Plant and Harvester Contractor in the Burdekin approximately 20 years ago.
He then went onto Contract Farming in 2003 in the Burdekin; in 2006 became the Farm Manager for SISL Cane Farm Management where he was employed for 7 Years, then spent one year at Lance Smith’s Farm before accepting the Position of Cane Farm Manager for Faust Farming in January 2014.
Faust’s have been a part of the Proserpine community since 1895 when their family opened up a General local store. But in 1910 they became involved in Cattle and then eventually the Sugar Industry in the early 1990’s.
The Faust property “Breadalbane” is roughly 4,000 hectares in total and the farm house is situated 2 kms south of the town of Proserpine. A total of 1200 Hectares are under cane currently with the potential for a further 800 hectares to be opened up over the next 2 years. Its proximity to the Mill, makes it a major asset to the local Sugar Cane Producing industry.
With the support of Peter William Faust and the rest of the Faust Family, Shane had instigated some major upgrades this year to the infrastructure and equipment on the farm. For example the purchase of a new John Deere 7200R and John Deere RTK Ag Management Guidance system and various new implements!
Shane also has implemented some new farming practices on the property setting up 4.5km of underground piping for Flood irrigation with water recycling pits to improve watering monitoring methods, EM Mapping and soil testing. He has also introduced consistent 1.8m Row spacing across the whole farm, Bed forming, implementing a variable rate line and Gypsum regime and adopted other more progressive methods of Cane Farming.
Combine this with the use of contractors who use John Deere Guidance for the Ground preparation, Spraying and Planting all have assisted in the rapid improvement of the farm has shown. Add to this the plans for further development and constant revision of improvements, the farm is on track to reach its full potential sooner than later.
Faust Farming is working with Reef Catchment and is now a member of Catalyst, which is a group of forward thinking farmers who are willing to trial experimental farming practices. The aim of Catalyst is to help improve not only the industry, but also the environment, through more efficient and safer Sugar Cane farming practices.
A 56 Hectare plot of their farm is currently being used for a Water Use Efficiency Trial, which is a joint venture between Faust Farming, Reef Catchments, John Deere Australia and Vanderfield.
Vanderfield Mackay has established a Water Use Efficiency and Precision Agronomy trial at Proserpine with the cooperation of Faust Farming. This ongoing trial will showcase the latest technology available that cane growers can use to assist with irrigation scheduling, field drainage modelling and prescription management of crop inputs in their farming system.
Interested farmers will be able to remotely monitor meteorological conditions and soil moisture by logging into MyJohnDeere.com and connecting to the John Deere Field Connect™ data station installed by Vanderfield Mackay.
The sensors on the John Deere Field Connect™ data station will be used as a decision support tool by Faust Farming for irrigation scheduling.
In addition, VNET Precision Farming have collected soil Electromagnetic data and RTK GNSS elevation data. This information will be used to identify changing soil characteristics across the field at multiple depths.
Also a range of topographical derivatives have been extracted from the elevation data to model field drainage and to simulate changing water flow characteristics across the field.
VNET Precision Farming has used all of this information to identify the ideal location in the trial field for the soil moisture sensors to be installed.
With the support and the confidence the Faust Family have shown in Shane’s management decisions and the investment they have made in the past year, prospects looks bright for this well-known family, their farm and their future.