Pumicestone erosion control

Pumicestone erosion control

 

Trialing a clever new polymer technology to reduce sediment and chemicals entering waterways. 

 

Pumicestone pineapple farm field photoReducing erosion from Pumicestone Passage pineapple farms.A commercially available biodegradable stabiliser, Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall, is being used to reduce erosion from pineapple farms in the catchment of Pumicestone Passage, part of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland.

The polymer is applied to crops after planting, and not only reduces sediment runoff of sediment but also prevents the loss of pre-emergent pesticides and nutrients to the waterways.

Over the last six years, pineapple farmers at Glass House Mountains and Beerwah have been trialling various methods and rates of application of the product.

The project, which is part of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland Program, started in 2018 and spaned 5 years.

Healthy Land & Water teamed with the manufacturer Vital Industries to offer farmers in the Pumicestone catchment a 50:50 subsidy to trial the biodegradable stabiliser on their crops. 

The project focuses on:

  • Trialling biodegradable stabilised on crops.
  • Working with farmers in the Pumicestone Passage.
  • Drone monitoring.
  • Retaining sediment on the land, and hence reducing sediment run-off into waterways.
  • Reducing the impact of sediment on the marine environment.

 

What we did

Mid Brisbane Partnerships ProgramRetaining sediment on the land to reduce sediment run-oof into waterways.

The innovative project, saw us teaming with the manufacturer Vital Industries to offer farmers in the Pumicestone catchment a 50:50 subsidy to trial the biodegradable stabiliser on their crops. 

The process involves:

  • The stabiliser is mixed with water at a ratio of 10:1 (10%) and applied to the beds following the equivalent of 5 mm of rain on the beds to settle them and hold the Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall. A minimum of 48 hours of sunlight is preferable for the polymer to harden. Growers have been trailing various products, application rates, nozzle shapes, slopes, and soils to optimise the investment.
  • Dr Javier Leon from the University of the Sunshine Coast has been undertaking drone monitoring for the project. A survey-grade drone is used to collect imagery from above, measuring the precise rates of erosion with an average of 1,000 images per site, undertaken around midday to ensure the best light.
  • Monitoring to help quantify rates of soil erosion across different polymer application treatments to inform the most efficient use of the polymer.

 

Measuring success

The overall goal for this project is for the polymer applications to achieve an estimated 40% reduction in sediment loss across 20ha of cropping land per year.

As of today, as a result of the project, growers have been happy with the results and have experienced multiple benefits of using Stonewall on their crops.

These include less labor time cleaning silt traps reduced herbicide loss and the need for passes which have resulted in significant time and money savings, enough to offset the cost of the purchase and application of the stabiliser.

Small plot trials performed in 2021 by DAF and Landloch Pty Ltd using a rain simulator have demonstrated that the application of 10% of the Stonewall polymer achieved an average of 81% reduction in sediment movement with a 100 mm/hour 30-minute rainfall event.

The overland flow of 20 litres of water per minute running down the furrows post-rainfall event showed a 97% reduction in sediment movement.

 

Why this project is important

 

Soil erosion is an issue that has long been a concern for pineapple growers.

When the pineapple beds are first profiled ready for planting usually during the summer months, the soils are vulnerable to erosion from heavy rain events which have been noticeably increasing in intensity throughout the last decade with climate change.

Pineapple growers are keenly aware of the need to keep their soils, nutrients, and pesticides on the arm to protect the waterways. It also makes economic sense.

 

Why this project is important

Project name:  Pumicestone Erosion Control Project
Project manager:  Vanessa Smolders, Healthy Land & Water
Catchment:  Pumicestone
Timing: 2018 – 2023 (Completed)
Budget:  
Partnerships: 

The project is part of the Moreton Ramsar Wetland Program funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 

In collaboration with Australian Pineapples, Growcom, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES), the Horticulture Industry Association, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Vital Industries, and growers including the Morgan family and Sandy Creek Pineapple Company.

Related Articles:

  

What's next

Funding has ended for this project. There is huge potential to build on the successful work. 

 

Project collaborators

The project is part of the Moreton Ramsar Wetland Program funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 

In collaboration with Australian Pineapples, Growcom, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES), the Horticulture Industry Association, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Vital Industries, and growers including the Morgan family and Sandy Creek Pineapple Company.

 

 Australian Government NLP