A lesson in spraying right for better results in sugarcane crops

26 February 2014
SRA Media Release

Sugar Research Australia Ltd hosted a group of sugarcane advisors at The University of Queensland’s Centre for Spray Technology Application Research and Training (C-START) to learn more about emerging spray technologies and practices on 6–7 February 2014.

Dr Andrew Ward, Executive Manger Professional Extension and Communication Unit, SRA said that the Spray Application Technology Workshop—which included representatives from productivity services groups and other industry participants—was held to up-skill advisors and improve their knowledge in an area that could yield promising results for growers.

“Part of SRA’s role is to ensure that best practice advice and latest research findings make their way to those who are involved in providing on-farm support,” Dr Ward said.

Competition from weeds causes significant losses in production and profitability for growers. As the sugar industry moves towards farming systems based on minimum tillage, growers are becoming more dependent on herbicides. But at the same time they face increasing pressure to reduce herbicide runoff.

“Therefore growers need to understand the latest spraying technologies and recommendations that can save them time and money, while reducing the environmental impact of weed control,” he advised.

The two-day technical event funded by SRA Capacity Building funds presented lessons and practical demonstrations to arm the advisors with information to help growers meet these challenges.

Information covered during the event included an overview of the developments in drift-control adjuvants and how to optimise the use of electronic and fully automatic spray controllers. The importance of the impact different mixes of chemicals can have on spray quality, including droplet size and the range of the spray was discussed.

“Getting the spray right and using a fit-for-purpose sprayer is critical to improving on-farm results.

“It is important that we continue to arm the advisor community with this type of technically strong information to pass onto growers, to help improve their production and ultimately their bottom line,” Dr Ward concluded.

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