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Water quality monitoring data obtained by 15 growers has led to a better understanding of how practice change can improve water quality across the growers’ combined 3000 hectares of sugarcane land.

The Sandy Creek project is well known across Mackay and the rest of the Central Queensland district. It has credence and momentum because growers were “hands-on” from the start and were integrated into the process of discovery and solution finding. In association with scientists from the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI), the growers established multiple water quality monitoring sites along Sandy Creek. Water quality sampling targeted the early rainfall events of the season (between November and February), when substantial quantities of pesticides and fertilisers can potentially run off from cropping areas into local waterways.

Growers have developed a better understanding of the local water quality issues through their participation in the project, and are keen to try alternative practices that can maximise efficacy of farm inputs while minimising losses off the farm. These growers are not only changing what products they use and how they use them, they have also become advocates in the industry for improved pesticide use practices.

This project will continue until 2019 and the success of the project is attributed to the collaborative effort between the sugarcane industry, local sugarcane growers and the Queensland Government.

Monitoring Organisation CANEGROWERS Mackay

Name Sonia Ball

Phone 4944 2612

Email Sonia_Ball@canegrowers.com.au

Position in organisation Manager Communications

Activity Type science and research (e.g. monitoring activities, trials of innovative practices or new equipment)

Activity Indicators water quality in freshwater river basins

Activity location Plane catchment

Frequency of monitoring

Monitoring Start Date 01/07/2015

30/06/2017

Location of monitoring data

Date quality / confidence

Collaborators Reef Catchments, Queensland Government

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