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Projects that supports our farmers and irrigation future

Author: Teagan Stewart

Projects that supports our farmers and irrigation future such as Smarter Irrigation for Profit. Smarter Irrigation for Profit is a two-phase project that supports our farmers through valuable research in the following plan;

The Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 1 project enabled the completion of valuable research in areas including irrigation system audits, irrigation scheduling research, investigation of new technology, evaluation of system design and water use efficiency assessments. It demonstrated that improved water productivity hinged on ‘Getting the Basics Right’. It found that irrigators could achieve a 10-20 percent improvement in farm profitability by adopting best practice and precision irrigation technologies. This initial project has now led to phase 2.

Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 (SIP2) is a partnership between the irrigation industries of sugar, cotton, grains, dairy and rice, research organisations and farmer groups. The objective of SIP2 is to improve the profit of over 4,000 irrigators. It has 14 sub-projects covering three main components:

Development of new irrigation technologies including new sensors, advanced analytics to improve irrigation scheduling and strategies to reduce water storage evaporation.

Cost effective, practical automated irrigation systems for cotton, rice, sugar and dairy.

Closing the irrigation productivity yield gap for cotton, rice, dairy, sugar and grains irrigators through a network of 46 farmer led optimised irrigation sites and key learning sites located on commercial farms across Australia.

The initiative showcases project objectives and outcomes, events and case studies.
With the main objectives outlined above and in detail with closing the irrigation productivity yield gap through best practice in different farming industries such as dairy and Sugarcane to name a few. Findings on pump performance, soil moisture and data to make irrigation decisions working through these problems and solutions and addressing the key barriers to change with the use of a co-learning approach.

Developing new and innovative irrigation technologies, including the application of new sensors, advanced analytics for irrigation scheduling and strategies to reduce water storage evaporation.

There are 14 research projects being implemented on 36 farmer led optimized irrigation sites across. Bringing some of the best Australian irrigation researchers and farmers together with funding from Cotton, Sugar, Diary, Rice and Grains.

For example, in collaboration with our Padman Products The Smarter Irrigation for Profit team are able to measure irrigation advance and water height in the field. Soil moisture sensing gives you the ability to know when you will next irrigate, when to order water with its forecasting potential.

At the IREC field site has been running for 2 irrigation seasons and during this season there has been 5 irrigation events without human intervention to change anything.
Using a forecast model of 7 days in advance the sensing system has picked up when it needs to be irrigated across those days.
Then working out in what the deficit will be and place the water order. The gates automatically open and then the irrigation event is then optimized based of water height in the bankless bays.

Another one of many objectives for The Smarter irrigation for Profit projects is to get commercial grade products at a low cost. Currently pricing range is from $150 – $400 per hectare which varies depending on what bay size that gives farmers duel sensing and control.

Developing and delivering autonomous irrigation including improving automation components, more robust networks for sensing, control and precision application of water for cotton, rice, sugar and dairy irrigation systems. You can view the automation products we have on farms here.

Our team has had the pleasure of working closely with John Hornbuckle and his team over the past few years. We have automation and infrastructure on several of their research farms. We believe by contributing as an industry partner to this sort of research will not only help grow our business but more importantly will help grow and support the irrigation industry, well into the future.

We apprecaite all projects that supports our farmers and irrigation future.
Padman Stops are proud to be a part of the Smarter Irrigation for Profit program. This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.

You can read, listen to via podcast and watch more about Smarter Irrigation for Profit here

We have more details here about our portable and affordable automation here. 

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