Irvin Farm's story began in 1985 when John Irvin developed an inter-row dropper system for sugar cane weed control to reduce the endless cultivation required for mechanical weeding operations and a lack of specialised agricultural chemical application equipment. The business still operates from the family farm today supplying the Australian and overseas countries with specialised weed management equipment and services.
While the business had become a leading weed competition management organisation it was also researching whole of farming systems capable of supporting sustainable development within the Australian Industry.
Australia is the only 1st world country that is a major global exporter to the world raw sugar market and needs a unique system of farming to be competitive as well as ecological sustainable. As well as being financially competitive the Australian Industry must also be environmentally sustainable across social, environmental, financial and cultural bottom lines.
Irvin Farm has become a knowledge management centre developing sustainable tooling and knowledge for a whole of system change to sustainable development in sugar cane production. In 2007 Irvin Farm began the task of implementing ISO 14001 as an Environmental Management System (EMS) as a means of pulling together all the components of a new farming system into a single cohesive system which would allow change to take place allowing the old ways of sugar cane farming to co-exist with a new environmentally sustainable system as the change process progresses farming sustainability.
As well as Irvin Farm's farming operations in Ingham, North Queensland it operates commercially as a service provider testing its specialized tooling within a network of farming operations. This commercial exposure provides the platform for understanding the social variations and requirements of sugar cane farming activities as change and its effects influence the need for continuous improvement.
Irvin Farm is in the latter stages of completing its redevelopment along sustainability guidelines with the development of a whole of sugar cane farming system toolkit of equipment, knowledge and services. While there is no end to this journey of continuous improvement transparency is a key component of its quest for sustainability.