Mackay Whitsunday hosts improved herbicide management workshops for growers

Dec 7, 2014 | ,
Dual Herbicide Sprayer Demo Unit
Growers watch a demonstration of the DAFF Dual Herbicide Sprayer.

Reef Catchments and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) came together this month to offer a series of workshops on improved herbicide management on sugarcane farms.

The workshops included a practical demonstration of two types of spray rigs that can help reduce the cost of controlling weeds, as well as information on nozzle selection and regional updates from Reef Programme and regional catchment monitoring.

Growers participating saw a demonstration of setting up and using a shielded sprayer for effective weed control in cane through the use of knockdown chemicals. This session included grower feedback on the pros and cons of using shielded sprayer equipment on the farm.

Phil Trendell, senior project officer from DAFF, said the DAFF Dual Herbicide Sprayer was also be on show.

“This is a DAFF developed spray rig that uses a modified Irvin type boom with a spray bar. The rig is able to accurately apply glyphosate in the inter-row and apply a range of residual and non-residual herbicides against the cane stool,” Phil said.

“This session will look at the application spray pattern through the use of UV dye and inflorescent light.

“Another highlight will be the use of a nozzle patternator to demonstrate the range of coverage and drift that results from using different nozzles under different pressures.”

Growers enjoyed hearing about the savings that could be gained from using the shielded sprayer to spray knockdown chemicals. Some of the smaller growers commented the cost of the spray rig was restrictive, but that they might be able to consider it if receiving a grant or through a programme (for example, Reef Programme).

DAFF also provided growers with an overview of the recent catchment water quality monitoring program results for Mackay Whitsunday, and addressed the new label requirements for products containing diuron.

Growers were presented with the diuron water quality data from the catchment monitoring program run by DSITIA. This data was from two sites – Sandy Creek at Homebush, and the Pioneer River at Dumbleton weir.

Data from the last five years shows that diuron concentrations during wet season run-off have regularly exceeded the irrigation guideline trigger value of 2 ug/L. The results from January 2014 were the highest during this five year period.

Workshops were delivered with the support of local industry service providers, including Plane Creek Productivity Services and Farmacist.

For more information, including on how to get involved with Reef Programme, contact Reef Catchments on (07) 4968 4200.