Her­bi­cide runoff to Great Bar­rier Reef can be re­duced by pre­ci­sion spray­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

AN in­no­va­tive ap­proach to su­gar­cane plan­ta­tion weed man­age­ment tri­alled in se­lect Great Bar­rier Reef catch­ments has shown a 90 per cent re­duc­tion in runoff of highly sol­u­ble her­bi­cides into wa­ter­ways. In the lower Bur­dekin re­gion sci­en­tists from CSIRO’s Wa­ter for a Healthy Coun­try Flag­ship tri­alled a tech­nique for ap­ply­ing her­bi­cides to raised beds of fur­row ir­ri­gated su­gar­cane by us­ing a spe­cially adapted shielded sprayer.

‘‘Th­ese trial re­sults are ex­tremely en­cour­ag­ing, and clearly demon­strate that the use of pre­ci­sion her­bi­cide ap­pli­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies can be highly ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing her­bi­cide run-off,’’ Dr Rai Kookana said.

‘‘ The con­ven­tional ap­pli­ca­tion of her­bi­cides in fur­row-ir­ri­gated su­gar­cane pro­duc­tion is to broad­cast spray across the whole field us­ing boom sprayers, which ap­plies her­bi­cides to both beds and fur­rows.’’

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