Correct chemical control for greyback canegrubs made easier with SRA’s how-to guide

Date Posted

14 July, 2022

Posted by

Helen Cook

The Greyback canegrub is the most damaging pest of Australian sugarcane. Native to Australia, the larvae, or grubs, damage the crop through their feeding action on cane roots.

While uncontrollable climate and natural enemies will affect the canegrub abundance and damage levels in a paddock, chemical control can be used to limit their impact. Sugar Research Australia’s Entomology Leader Dr Kevin Powell says while products are available to do this, they are only effective if used properly.

“It is important that growers follow their Grubplan and only apply chemical control where blocks are at risk to maximise this control option,” said Dr Powell.

Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid insecticide and neonicotinoids are currently under review with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

“When grub control is necessary, imidacloprid is one of your best strategies and it is essential to use it correctly both from an efficacy and an environmental perspective.

This has led SRA to develop, in partnership with Nufarm, an easy-to-follow guide to ensure imidacloprid products are applied at the correct time, rate, depth and width.

The guide ‘Optimum Application of Imidacloprid for Greyback Canegrub Management’ was launched this week (Tuesday 12 July) at a workshop for canegrowers in the Murray Catchment as part of the Mobilising the Murray project.

Tully Canegrowers Chairman Bryce Macdonald welcomed over 30 participants to the workshop reinforcing the message that protecting your crop was key.

“It’s no good growing a good crop if you can’t protect it properly,” said Mr Macdonald.

“We need all the tools we can get to do that, along with the latest science. But it is critical that when we use chemicals we understand how to use them properly. This document clearly shows the correct way to do that for greyback canegrubs.”

View and download the guide here

Read more about canegrubs

or contact your local SRA District Manager for further information.


  • The workshop was held as part of the Mobilising The Murray project funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.
  • The project is a hands-on initiative that supports canegrowers in the catchment by addressing productivity constraints and accessing opportunities and incentives for the long-term sustainability of the sugar industry.

From L to R: SRA District Manager – Far North, Gavin Rodman, Canegrowers Tully Chairman, Bryce Macdonald, SRA Weed Specialist Emilie Fillols and SRA Entomology Leader Dr Kevin Powell at a Mobilising The Murray Canegrub workshop in Murray Rural Fire Shed, Murray Upper (Tuesday 12 July).

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