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Might perhaps perhaps well also smart irrigation tech change the game for farmers?

Might perhaps perhaps well also smart irrigation tech change the game for farmers?

Irrigating inland flowers while sitting on the seaside doubtlessly sounds too correct to be valid, but it be the manner of the future, in step with researchers.

Key ideas:

  • Smart sensor technology enables inland flowers to be irrigated and controlled by farmers while they are on holidays
  • Water saving and labour saving are the main advantages of the smart technology
  • The tech is yet to win on in a huge manner on the mainland, but is growing in recognition in Tasmania

Deakin College affiliate professor John Hornbuckle has been infected about growing smart sensing automation technology, which he mentioned became once a game changer for broadacre irrigators.

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He mentioned the technology enthusiastic sensors and satellites being placed within a discipline which then allowed irrigators to manipulate the computerized watering blueprint remotely.

Dr Hornbuckle’s research became once being completed in rice and cotton fields in New South Wales.

“The two main advantages of this automation technology is the water financial savings, as chances are high you’ll presumably perhaps fabricate the valid selections at the valid time when to irrigate, and also the better daily life it enables for,” he mentioned.

The trial, which has ben running for 18 months, is being funded by the Smarter Irrigation for Profit program and is segment of a partnership between the federal authorities, AgriFutures Australia and Deakin College, and industrial supplier Padman Stops.

A man wearing a blue shirt standing pointing to a metal sensor in front of a crowd of six people.

Dr John Hornbuckle explaining smart sensing automation for irrigation to growers at the Rice Research Australia trial space shut to Jerilderie.(

Equipped: AgriFutures Australia


Nice for rice

Dr Hornbuckle mentioned rice growers in particular would abet from the computerized blueprint.

One of the primary trial web sites became once at the Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd farm shut to Jerilderie, in southern NSW.

“Rice has some a exiguous bit varied challenges around water management as there are sessions where we pond water,” Dr Hornbuckle mentioned.

“So it’s working neatly with bankless channel layouts for rice, as of us do not favor to manually originate siphons … that would neatly be completed with an computerized inlet and outlet, as there are sensors to manipulate that routinely.”

He mentioned growers might perhaps presumably perhaps put water attributable to they had been irrigating at optimum cases and flowers would not transform waterlogged attributable to sensors that can presumably perhaps routinely shut off the water provide.

Dr Hornbuckle it might perhaps presumably perhaps mark between $200 and $600 per hectare to put into effect the smart sensing automation technology, reckoning on the irrigation format.

An app on a cellular telephone will be dilapidated to manipulate the programs and alert the operator of any in-discipline or connectivity concerns.

“It is all cloud-based mostly fully mostly and might perhaps presumably perhaps neatly be accessed on reasonably just a few phones, which also suits higher operations that can presumably perhaps maintain reasonably just a few irrigation managers,” he mentioned.

Farmer and consultant with irrigation in background.

Will Russell and handbook Dave O’Donnell are working to handle energy and tension efficiencies in irrigation.(

Equipped: Dairy Australia


Optimising dairy

With more tension on water availability and rising energy bills, dairy farmers are also taking a attach a query to to optimise their water use.

The Russell dairy farm at Jellat Jellat in the Bega Valley is one in all 10 dairy optimisation web sites across Australia chosen to point to the Smarter Irrigation for Profit Program.

Will Russell mentioned farmers wished to adapt.

“Historically we have had correct entry to water in the Bega Valley, but the climate has completely changed and in the 2019-2020 season we had been unable to entry water in the height of summer,” he mentioned.

Mr Russell has been experimenting with technology to improve productiveness on the farm.

“We now maintain attach in reasonably just a few soil moisture probes over the last couple of years,” he mentioned.

“They’ve in actual fact helped us name when the when the flowers starting up to stress, and we are able to win that water on before it goes too a long way.”

Over a six month length, Will Russell mentioned he grew an further one to two tonnes of dry topic per hectare when as in contrast with other irrigated paddocks on his farm.

One of the advantages of soil moisture probes is that they can win the guesswork out of irrigation, in step with space coordinator Kym Revington.

“I mediate one in all the key findings is after rainfall farmers had been maybe a bit bit hesitant to restart their irrigation up too soon,” he mentioned.

An image of an irrigation app.

Irripasture is a free irrigation tool developed by USQ and Dairy Australia to again farmers time desk irrigation.(

Equipped: Irripasture.com


Price the mark

James Hills, the centre chief at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture at the College of Tasmania, mentioned the adoption price of high-tech irrigation became once reasonably low on the mainland.

But in Tasmania farmers had been embracing the technology in growing numbers and Dr Hills estimated 20-30 per cent of dairy farmers had been the use of tools to time desk their irrigation.

“I mediate the obvious message is that it’s value putting in the effort to win it valid,” he mentioned.

“A correct blueprint that can send the [soil moisture] data into the cloud and send that to your cellular telephone might perhaps presumably perhaps mark a bit a bit around $2,000, but it be a no brainer if it’s going to put you $60-70,000 across an predicament of 100 hectares over the route of the irrigation season.”

The Smarter Irrigation for Profit program is funded by the federal Department for Agriculture, Water and Ambiance and Dairy Australia.

Might perhaps perhaps well also smart irrigation tech change the game for farmers?