Efficient application of irrigation water
NPSI has assisted Irrigation Australia with production of a manual about understanding drip irrigation (above ground and sub surface) and how best to apply it.
This is associated with formation of a special interest group on the topic and development of further information for the Irrigation Australia website.
A key message from a conference session on the topic was to have the total package in place for efficiency including an irrigation layout and delivery system selected to suit the purpose, good information (including soil moisture monitoring data), a scheduling program based on this information and the capacity to respond quickly to crop water needs. This has elements of water saving as well as improved management of environmental and production parameters.
Sometimes efficiency can be improved simply by better placement of probes to monitor water requirements, along with sharper management. Andrew Parkes of Customised Farm Management, illustrated this with a case study of furrow irrigated cotton where production was able to be increased significantly while reducing water applications.
Other presenters showed how scope for efficiency improvement could be revealed through benchmarking, web-based scheduling systems and redirecting rainfall to manage root zone salinity in vineyards.
See the Managing soil salinity for wine quality in groundwater-irrigated vineyards NPSI project