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Sci Total Environ. 2014 Jan 1;466-467:841-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.117. Epub 2013 Aug 25.

Banded applications are highly effective in minimising herbicide migration from furrow-irrigated sugar cane.

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CSIRO Land and Water, Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship, PMB 2 Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia. Electronic address:


Runoff from farm fields is a common source of herbicide residues in surface waters in many agricultural industries around the world. In Queensland, Australia, the runoff of PSII inhibitor herbicides (in particular diuron and atrazine) is a major concern due to their potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef. This study compared the conventional practice of broadcast application of herbicides in sugarcane production across the whole field with the banded application of particular herbicides onto raised beds only using a shielded sprayer. This study found that the application of two moderately soluble herbicides, diuron and atrazine, to only the raised beds decreased the average total load of both herbicides moving off-site by >90% compared with the conventional treatment. This was despite the area being covered with the herbicides by the banded application being only 60% less than with the conventional treatment. The average total amount of atrazine in drainage water was 7.5% of the active ingredient applied in the conventional treatment compared with 1.8% of the active ingredient applied in the banded application treatment. Similarly, the average total amount of diuron in drainage water was 4.6% of that applied in the conventional treatment compared with 0.9% of that applied in the banded application treatment. This study demonstrates that the application of diuron and atrazine to raised beds only is a highly effective way of minimising migration of these herbicides in drainage water from furrow irrigated sugarcane.


2,4-D; Atrazine; Banded spraying; Diuron; Glyphosate; Great Barrier Reef

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