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