Effect of sugarcane cropping systems on herbicide losses in surface runoff

Nachimuthu, Gunasekhar, Halpin, Neil V. and Bell, Michael J. (2016) Effect of sugarcane cropping systems on herbicide losses in surface runoff. Science of the Total Environment, 557-558 773-784. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.105

Author Nachimuthu, Gunasekhar
Halpin, Neil V.
Bell, Michael J.
Title Effect of sugarcane cropping systems on herbicide losses in surface runoff
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-1026
Publication date 2016-07-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.105
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 557-558
Start page 773
End page 784
Total pages 12
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Herbicide runoff from cropping fields has been identified as a threat to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. A field investigation was carried out to monitor the changes in runoff water quality resulting from four different sugarcane cropping systems that included different herbicides and contrasting tillage and trash management practices. These include (i) Conventional – Tillage (beds and inter-rows) with residual herbicides used; (ii) Improved – only the beds were tilled (zonal) with reduced residual herbicides used; (iii) Aspirational – minimum tillage (one pass of a single tine ripper before planting) with trash mulch, no residual herbicides and a legume intercrop after cane establishment; and (iv) New Farming System (NFS) – minimum tillage as in Aspirational practice with a grain legume rotation and a combination of residual and knockdown herbicides.

Results suggest soil and trash management had a larger effect on the herbicide losses in runoff than the physico-chemical properties of herbicides. Improved practices with 30% lower atrazine application rates than used in conventional systems produced reduced runoff volumes by 40% and atrazine loss by 62%. There were a 2-fold variation in atrazine and > 10-fold variation in metribuzin loads in runoff water between reduced tillage systems differing in soil disturbance and surface residue cover from the previous rotation crops, despite the same herbicide application rates. The elevated risk of offsite losses from herbicides was illustrated by the high concentrations of diuron (14 μg L− 1) recorded in runoff that occurred > 2.5 months after herbicide application in a 1st ratoon crop. A cropping system employing less persistent non-selective herbicides and an inter-row soybean mulch resulted in no residual herbicide contamination in runoff water, but recorded 12.3% lower yield compared to Conventional practice. These findings reveal a trade-off between achieving good water quality with minimal herbicide contamination and maintaining farm profitability with good weed control.
Keyword Atrazine
Paddock to reef
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 19 Apr 2016, 00:13:32 EST by System User on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences