Sandy Creek – On farm change for water quality improvement

Cane, Current Project, Land, Sustainable Agriculture

Sandy Creek is a very high risk area for pesticides, improvement in water quality depends upon growers improving their land management practices.

Sign for Sandy Creek and Ned Casey Bridge.

The Sandy Creek project (RP201C) has been ongoing since 2015, with an increased focus on the Brightly sub-catchment of Sandy Creek since 2018. Farmacist, Mackay Area Productivity Services (MAPS) and Reef Catchments have worked with sugarcane growers across the Sandy Creek region to implement farming practices that increase farming sustainability and reduce the volume of various pesticides in farm water run-off. The kinds of farming practices that have been implemented (e.g., equipment upgrades and product selection and application based on pesticide management plans), have resulted in a marked improvement in the water quality of Sandy Creek as made clear from the results of three wet seasons of water quality monitoring (2018 – 2021) at the end of the Brightly sub-catchment. However, these water quality results also revealed an increase in the concentration of the insecticide imidacloprid in Sandy Creek.

Brightly in Queensland.

Since September 2021 the Sandy Creek project has continued with a sharp focus on reducing the concentration of imidacloprid in farm run-off. Farmacist have been working with growers in the Brightly sub-catchment to assess imidacloprid application equipment and provide any necessary agronomic support. Farmacist have also commenced field trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of different types of imidacloprid application (namely dual press wheel, Stoolzippa and chain dragged) on various soil types. Final results and conclusions from these demonstration trials will be considered at the end of this wet season.

Due to conclude in June 2022, this final project phase is hoping to achieve a better understanding of imidacloprid losses from cane farms, as well as help provide a model of best farming practice that can be carried into other catchments in the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region.

Sandy Creek Landholder Case Studies
Andrew Vassallo
Charlie and Paul Vassallo
Mark Craig
Phil Deguara

Farmacist Field Trials
Site 1
Site 2
Site 4
Site 5
Site 6
Site 7
Site 8

Previous Sandy Creek project phases (led by the Department of Environment and Science Water Quality Investigations team) have established trust in the water quality monitoring results and the relationship between on farm practices and water quality outcomes.

The Sandy Creek catchment has 350 cane farms occupying 20,500 hectares, which is approximately 50% of the catchment area.

More information on Plane Creek catchment can be found here.

This project is a current project.

Funding source: Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program

Project contacts

Emily Barber from Reef Catchments.

Emily Barber

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