Burdekin grower Willie Lucas has built a low cost automated irrigation system for his farm meaning no more midnight valve changes. Using sensors and a telemetry system that switches pumps on and off and opens and closes valves, he's also using water and electricity more efficiently and avoiding the risk of runoff leaving his paddocks.
On the Atherton Tableland in far north Queensland, CANEGROWERS is helping members make the most of new communication and monitoring tools which help with irrigation decisions. This Virtual Bus Tour video shows how two different soil moisture probes work and the valuable information they provide - all in the name of more efficient and productive cane farms.
Aaron Linton is comparing the performance of a new drip irrigation system, installed with assistance from the Australian Government Reef Programme, against traditional furrow irrigation on his Home Hill farm.
Soil probes and weather stations mean Gary Raiteri is irrigating his Proserpine crop only when it’s needed for maximum growth. In this segment, he takes us through the machinery, practices and technology they’ve implemented on farm, the results they’ve achieved, challenges they’ve faced and potential pitfalls.
Bundaberg cane growers Mark and Brian Pressler have demonstrated that the benefit of installing a low pressure irrigation system along with a more efficient mainline and pumping equipment has been a 60–70% reduction in energy used to pump irrigation water. They have also tapped into the sugar industry’s most extensive network of telemetric soil moisture probes and weather stations. These sort of projects typify what the Rural Water Use Efficiency and Australian Government Reef Programme are seeking to achieve through proactively partnering with farmers.
A $15 million project to improve water use efficiency and boost productivity is taking shape in the Maryborough district. CANEGROWERS director Allen Birt talks about how the rollout of 40 new centre pivot irrigators by MSF Sugar is anticipated to boost productivity and secure a reliable ongoing source of sugarcane over the coming seasons by enabling growers to deliver smaller quantities of water to top up the profile throughout the season.
A 480m centre pivot irrigates 56 hectares of land including sloping blocks on the Muscat family farm at Oakenden. Readings from soil probes guide the programming for each irrigation event. Two years into its operation, Joe and Steve Muscat explain how they’ve realised energy savings and productivity gains.
An ultrasonic water flow meter made available through the Rural Water Use Efficiency - Irrigation Futures program has been deployed in the Isis district. With the information it provides and a new overhead centre pivot system Bevan Manderson has created an efficient irrigation system on his steeply contoured farm.
Tom and Brad Maisel have been converting flood/furrow irrigation areas to efficient low pressure overhead systems. Water use efficiency has been enhanced by responding quickly to information from soil moisture probes. Yield increases mean their farms are producing almost 40 tcph more than the Tablelands Mill area average. This is a great example of the efficient use of water on farm.
Graham Zunker is using GPS technology to guide an in-furrow switch plough through the plant zone while Greig follows in a second tractor working a rotary hoe. The block is being reconfigured to suit a new low pressure overhead irrigation system. This is one of the final stages in a five year all-of-farm project to reduce energy consumption and make more efficient use of crop irrigation.