Over 180 growers attended the Mackay Area Productivity Services (MAPs) Field Day at Victoria Plains farm last month, to learn about a range of projects linked to improving water quality in the Sandy Creek sub-catchment.
For the last two years, local growers have been involved in a water quality monitoring program and have worked with MAPS, Sugar Research Australia (SRA) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) on a number of trials.
“We presented the outcomes from projects looking at reducing imidacloprid (a cane grub control insecticide) and diuron (a weed control herbicide) at the Field Day,” said DAF senior agronomist, John Hughes.
“We also demonstrated a new sub-surface applicator developed by EHS Engineering and funded by DAF.
“We fitted it to a local contractor’s fertiliser box, which also had the old system on it for comparison. The fertiliser box was set up to apply imidacloprid at the same time.
“It is designed to improve the depth at which the product is placed and to make sure that the slot (that was opened up) is closed properly.”
John also talked about trials due to take place this season that will compare the new sub-surface application system against the old one using rainfall simulation, to determine the water quality improvement that can be achieved.
“The trials will make use of the Dual Herbicide Sprayer (DHS) and compare the impact of banding, versus broadcasting residual herbicides on run-off,’” said John.
DAF senior project officer Phil Trendell demonstrated how to use the DHS during the Field Day.
“Over the last few years, growers in this region have used the Dual Herbicide Sprayer with great success. We are keen to let other growers know that it’s available on loan from the department and we will support them to trial it on their farms,” said Phil.
“A DHS User Manual has been developed and includes the engineering drawings for the spray arms, as we have had a number of growers express their interest in building their own rigs. We can mail out copies of the Manual on request.”
Growers can get in touch with Phil Trendell on 0477 342 946 for more information, or to arrange a trial of the DHS.