Cost-effective weed management is integral to a profitable sugarcane farming system. This can be achieved by using an Integrated Weed Management (IWM) system which takes a whole-of-farm approach focusing on:
using fallow crops to break weed-seed cycles
using break crops such as soy bean to outcompete weeds and to allow for use of different herbicide groups
using green-cane trash blankets (GCTB) to replace or minimise herbicide use in ratoons
using strategic tillage to manage weeds in plant cane or ratoons.
adapting the herbicide program per paddock to take into account weed population, weed size, soil type, cane variety, cane stage, waterways and flood areas
using strategically applied herbicides, such as banded, directed sprays or shield sprays, to minimise environmental effects and to reduce costs
using appropriate methods and timing to incorporate residual herbicides to maximise their efficacy
timing herbicide applications to minimise losses in stormwater runoff and to prevent the weeds from seeding
using different groups of herbicide to break weed-seed cycles and to manage resistance
monitoring and recording herbicide use.
General farm practices
maintaining farm and machinery hygiene to minimise the introduction and spread of weeds
monitoring and recording weed presence.
The bulk of the Queensland sugar industry lies adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. BSES and other organisations are continually evaluating and researching best practice weed management systems and processes to minimise the environmental effects of cane farming.