Project: Cane to Creek Mackay Whitsunday – Summary Story

Building Knowledge -
the LiquaForce Story

Cane to Creek Mackay Whitsunday set out to examine farming practices and their impacts on run-off water quality and on production. This information can then be used by growers to select farming practices which are both beneficial for production and for the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The farming practices considered in the demonstration sites were either suggested by growers or chosen by the (Cane to Creek Mackay Whitsunday) project team. For the latter category, farming practices were selected for which run-off water quality data was minimal or non-existent. Falling into this category was the farming practice of using the fertiliser LiquaForce, a liquid NPK blend fertiliser that is relatively new in the sugar industry.


Demonstration strip-type trial at Dows Creek – 6 strips each of 5 rows; flume in each strip to funnel run-off water with water samplers (connected to the flumes) located in the dogboxes.

SRA approached Justin Muscat a local grower and LiquaForce contractor to be part of the project. Justin grows around 30,000 t in the upper region of the picturesque Pioneer Valley. Justin provided a paddock on his Dows Creek farm (approximately 50 km west of Mackay) where we established a trial comparing Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) run-off losses for LiquaForce and standard granular fertiliser. Liquid imidacloprid was applied with both fertilisers so as to gauge any impact the applications of the fertilisers have on imidacloprid run-off losses. Justin also provided LiquaForce for another of our trial sites which was set up to examine run-off water quality of both LiquaForce and one of the Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers (EEF) presently on the market.

Water sample collections after a rain event at the Dows Creek demonstration site.

Justin noted that he was keen to participate in SRA’s project – he has appreciated the opportunity to observe the effort and work which goes into collecting production and water quality data. “For me as a grower and a LiquaForce contractor, it is very important that I have good evidence to support the benefits of LiquaForce for production and water quality,” said Justin.

The trials’ results have given us confidence to seek more agronomic and environmental knowledge on the LiquaForce product. We initially selected to trial LiquaForce as it was a relatively new liquid fertiliser on the market, and with other grower friendly attributes for example sub-surface applied so that imidacloprid could be added. 



Demonstration trial site for EEF located at Reliance Creek, Habana approximately 20km north-west of Mackay.

Our trials have produced results which suggest it worthwhile continuing to look at LiquaForce for beneficial agronomic and environmental reasons – but it is early days at this stage. This is a good example of building knowledge – one set of trials leads to more investigations and findings.

Justin Muscat with his fertiliser applicator.

This article was published by the Sugar Research Association and recreated here to share the good news.