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Ban on weed killer lifted

Diuron is seen as “very, very important” to cane growers.
Diuron is seen as “very, very important” to cane growers. Mike Knott BUNCAN

CANE growers in Bundaberg have welcomed the lifting of the suspension of a herbicide used to control weeds in their crops.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority last November suspended the use of Diuron during the tropical wet season.

However, the wet season ended this week and on Tuesday the authority lifted the suspension.

Diuron can now be used on tropical crops such as sugar cane, tea, pineapples and mangoes in the dry season.

It may not be used in waterlogged areas, near drains or irrigation channels and must be applied according to product labels.

Bundaberg Canegrowers deputy chairman Tony Castro said the organisation supported the use of the chemical.

Mr Castro said the authority was now receiving submissions on the use of Diuron.

"From the Canegrowers' perspective we agree with its use, and we have submitted a lengthy and fairly detailed submission," he said.

"We are hoping to receive a decision by November this year."

Mr Castro said the use of Diuron was "very, very important" to cane growers.

"It's a very efficient management tool in weed control," he said.

"It's also very cost effective and economical."

Mr Castro said other weed control chemicals were much more expensive.

He said the normal rate of use was 3.6kg of the active constituent per hectare.

However, he said, Canegrowers recommended that 1.8kg per hectare be used.

"It's still effective at that rate. We can work with that."

Mr Castro said he was aware of speculation the use of Diuron was damaging the Great Barrier Reef through runoff, but from what he had seen and read the evidence was inconclusive.

"When the chemical is applied to moist soil there is very little movement from the soil," he said.

There was less chance of movement than when it was applied during the dry season.

 

THE USES

Control weeds in agriculture - sugarcane, cotton, broad acre crops (oats and wheat).

Control weeds in irrigation channels, drainage ditches, around buildings, railway lines, sheds and driveways.

Topics:  diuron, pesticides and veterinary medicines authority, tony castro


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