Oral Presentation Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

A Simple Tool to Support the Selection of Less Harmful Pesticides in the Sugar Cane Industry (#65)

Michael Warne 1 2 3 , Peta A Neale 1
  1. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, CHELMER, QLD, Australia
  2. Water Quality and Investigations, Department of Environment and Science, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, Coventry, N/A, United Kingdom

Keywords: pesticides, aquatic risk, mobility, toxicity, pesticide risk indicator, sugar cane


Pesticides applied to agricultural land decrease the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef. This issue is addressed by the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan which includes a pesticide reduction target. One approach that could help meet the target is to provide stakeholders with information to permit the selection and use pesticides that pose a lower risk to aquatic environments compared to currently used pesticides. This project developed a Pesticide Decision Support Tool (PDST) in collaboration with stakeholders for the sugar cane industry. The PDST covers the active ingredients (AIs) of all pesticides registered and applied to sugar cane in Australia and four additional AIs registered for use on crops grown in rotation with sugar cane. The PDST uses the AIs relative toxicity (expressed as Default Guideline Values or Ecotoxicity Threshold Values) and relative mobility to determine their aquatic risk. An interactive spreadsheet allows characteristics, including spray regime and tank mixes, to be considered when assessing the potential risk.