WITH the Yeppoon area having received in excess of 400mm of rain in July, paddock washouts and erosion control were front of mind for many pineapple growers at the 2016 Pineapple Field Days.
There was perhaps no greater test then for an erosion control and dust suppression product trial.
Delegates visited the Brooks and Sons farm where the Brisbane-based company Vital Chemical conducted a test of its Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall product.
The product was sprayed across a crop of young pineapples at a 10 per cent water solution.
It was then given a major test when the downpour occurred about two weeks later.
Although broken in some patches, the product held up overall under the heavy rain.
Vital Chemical business development manager - dust and erosion Carlos Mira admitted he knew nothing about agriculture but said there were big potential benefits for farmers.
"What we do know is that we know how to stop soil from mobilising," Mr Mira said.
"This product, by penetrating the surface and binding together, gives a bit of a glasshouse effect on the surface.
"Once the product has been sprayed and cured, it is equivalent to grass cover."
Paddock run-off has been an area of focus for the Australian pineapple industry in recent years as researchers have looked at various prevention methods including inter-row grass plantings and drain breaks.
Pineapple grower Ryan Brooks said he tried the product at 15pc and 25pc strengths at different areas on the block.
"I was really interested in it because out here the soil, it moves, especially with a lot of rain," Mr Brooks said.
"We put cross-drains every 20m in our bays. The cross-drains have washed a bit due to the rain but where I have put the product it has held a lot better.
"That's probably a benefit in just doing that. I'd like to do some more trials with it."
He said one initial improvement could be made by adjusting the spray nozzle type for better application.
"It costs about 32c a (square) metre so obviously cost is a big factor," he said.
Mr Mira said the product used on the pineapple farm was just one of a range available.
"Because we manufacture, we are able to modify and come up with different solutions for different industries," he said.
"Some products have built-in soil conditioners and fertilisers as well."
Mr Mira said under a microscope, the product looks like a web so it does allow moisture to enter once cured.
"It's not like a plastic so you don't have a repellent to water," he said.
At 10pc solution strength, it will last for about 10 months and after 12 months will still have about 30pc effectiveness.
Vital Chemical's products are used extensively within the mining, civil and construction industries. The products are manufactured in Brisbane.
Mr Mira said seed can be sown and then sprayed with the product to help with an improved strike rate.
"The product will basically lock the seed to the area and allow the seed to germinate," he said.
"There is a lot more we need to do in terms of working out what works best for the industry in terms of application.
"Right now I think it's just about fine tuning to know what works well for the industry."