Farm Economics

John Eden is CANEGROWERS Mackay’s Agricultural Economist and the Chief Operations Officer.

John holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Management Degree and FAIM (Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management) and he is a Registered Consultant with the AG Institute of Australia.

As an Agricultural Economist, he can assist members with the following:

  • Economic modelling
  • Farm diagnostics including agronomic/economic/financial assessment and advice
  • Budgets and cashflows
  • Spreadsheets and farm recording tools
  •  Irrigation advice
  • Farm productivity analysis and advice
  • Industry regulatory issues

If you are looking for assistance before making major decisions about your current and future farming operations, give John a call on 4944 2605 to make an appointment.

His services are free to CANEGROWERS Mackay members.

Mackay Irrigation Project


Total rainfall and especially rainfall distribution patterns have an enormous impact on the volatility of cane production. Over 2021-23, CANE GROWERS Mackay has run the Mackay Irrigation Project, led by John Eden, which has assisted growers involved to optimise efficiencies across water use, nitrogen use and energy.

Apart from crop diseases and major weather events like tropical cyclones, the major contributor to reduced yields is crop water deficit (the amount of irrigation required in a particular year to meet the potential yield). The capacity to apply water to crops is heavily influenced by increasing water and electricity costs, which have played a major part in yield volatility. CANEGROWERS Mackay can demonstrate that there can be a huge benefit to increased productivity alongside a benefit to reducing runoff and better utilisation of nitrogen (Nitrogen Use Efficiency, NUE) by improving Water Use Efficiency (WUE) and meeting crop demand for water.

The project entails on-farm audits and economic analysis to determine efficiencies and how best to meet crop demand for water using a combination of agronomic advice, equipment availability, modelling and soil moisture probes. This is backed up by soil cores to determine soil hydrological and chemical characteristics. The results from the project demonstrate increased productivity, profitability and enhanced environmental benefits.

Learn more about the project:

Factsheet 1: History and Results So Far
Factsheet 2: Crop Water Use and Yield
Factsheet 3: Promoting Deeper Rooting and Water Extraction Rates 
Factsheet 4: Plant growth versus soil moisture radiation and evapotranspiration
Factsheet 5: Tracking solutes in the soil profile to better understand improved nutrient management via irrigation strategies
Case Study 1: Simpson Farm – on farm changes achieving improved Water Use Efficiency (WUE) and Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE).
Case Study 2: Williams Farm – improving system efficiencies and meeting crop demand for water with an increase in yield and NUE.
This project is part of the Mackay Whitsunday Water Quality Program, funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Haulout Cane
Haulout Cane
Haulout Cane
Haulout Cane
Haulout Cane