Manual helps sugarcane industry

Manual helps sugarcane industry

SRA manual helps sugarcane industry tackle a $70 million problem.

Sugarcane growers have access to a tool that provides the latest information on effective weed control in their crops, thanks to a new manual that has just been created by Sugar Research Australia (SRA).

SRA has just released the Weed Management in Sugarcane manual, which provides comprehensive information on weed control for the Australian sugarcane industry.

SRA Adoption Officer Mr Phil Ross wrote the publication with SRA weeds agronomist Ms Emilie Fillols.

“Yield losses from weeds, along with the costs of weed control, is estimated to cost the Australian industry $70 million each year,” Mr Ross said.

“This manual is targeted at the dual aims of helping growers to combat weeds, and also ensuring that every dollar spent on weed control is efficient.

“The end result of targeted and efficient weed control is more tonnes of cane, and a more profitable and productive sugarcane farming system, delivering a benefit to both sugarcane growers and millers.

“More efficient and targeted weed control also results in positive environmental outcomes, which sugarcane farmers are already demonstrating across the industry through improved practice.”

The manual covers all stages of the sugarcane crop cycle, as well as looking at the suitability of various herbicides for various weeds, as well as best application of herbicides.

It also provides the latest information on record keeping, environmental considerations, and herbicide resistance. It also provides indicative cost estimates of various weed control measures.

“Weeds are a perpetual battle for farmers, but this manual aims to give growers the information they need to reduce their weed problem and deliver benefits to their farm,” Mr Ross said.

Farmer Mr Damian Wirth started growing sugarcane in 2015 after purchasing a property in the Innisfail region. He said that in that time he had put a high priority on effective and efficient weed control to allow him to get the most from his crop.

“Here in the Wet Tropics there is strong pressure from weeds, particularly when you get a flood across the property as we did this in January 2017 after more than 800mm of rain early in the month, which brings in more weed seeds and adds to the pressure,” Mr Wirth.

“Those weeds take away nutrient from the cane, so a manual like this is useful to learn about the best way to manage weeds, be that mechanical or chemical.”