Combining weed efficacy, economics and environmental considerations for improved herbicide management in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area

Fillols, Emilie, Davis, Aaron M., Lewis, Stephen E., and Ward, Andrew (2020) Combining weed efficacy, economics and environmental considerations for improved herbicide management in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area. Science of the Total Environment, 720. 137481.

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The current Australian sugarcane industry transition toward adoption of an 'alternative' herbicide strategy as part of improved environmental stewardship is increasingly complicated by recent farming system, regulatory and herbicidal product changes. This study quantified and compared the efficacy, economic costs and environmental risk profiles of a range of established, emerging, and recently registered pre-emergent herbicides across field trials in the Wet Tropics region of North Queensland. Several herbicides were effective on certain weed species, but lacked broad spectrum control. Better efficacy results from products with multiple active ingredients (i.e., imazapic-hexazinone) demonstrated the benefits of using mixtures of active ingredients to widen the spectrum of weed control efficacy. All tested pre-emergent herbicides behaved quite similarly in terms of their propensity for off-site movement in water (surface runoff losses generally >10% of active applied), with their losses largely driven by their application rate. Herbicides with lower application rates consistently contributed less to the total herbicide loads measured in surface runoff. Results demonstrated alternative choices from the more environmentally problematic herbicides (such as diuron) are available with effective alternative formulations providing between 4 and 29 times less risk than the traditional diuron-hexazinone 'full rate'. However, considerable challenges still face canegrowers in making cost-effective decisions on sustainable herbicide selection. Additional research and effective grower extension are required to address information gaps in issues such as specific weed control efficacy of alternative herbicides and potential blending of some herbicides for more effective broad spectrum weed control, while also minimising environmental risks. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item ID: 63025
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: Pre-emergent herbicides, Runoff losses, Water quality, Trash blanket, Eco-toxicology, Diuron
Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Sugar Research Australia Ltd, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)
Projects and Grants: SRA2014/050
Date Deposited: 06 May 2020 07:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 100%
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