SIP2 addresses the challenge of reduced water availability by improving the water productivity of Australian cropping and pasture irrigators. It will do this by developing new precision irrigation technologies, improving existing technologies and facilitating faster uptake through producer led demonstration sites.
Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 1 found participating Australian by adopting precision irrigation techniques.
Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 incorporates three key areas of work:
- Developing new and innovative irrigation technologies.
- Optimising the benefits of autonomous irrigation.
- Closing the productivity yield gap via best practice irrigation extension.
Under this program, CWFS established a demonstration site in 2019 at The Fettell Centre, Condobolin. The trial involved three factors: crop type, grazing treatment and sowing time.
Twelve different wheat varieties were sown at three different times from mid-April to mid-May with the aim to determine which variety performed best under a semi-irrigated season. A small seed rate demonstration was also sown to determine if seeding rate had any impact on three long season wheat varieties under semi-irrigation. A soil moisture probe was installed to help track moisture usage during the season.
Unfortunately, 2019 saw very little rain. Condobolin received just on one third of its long term annual rainfall and less than one third of its long term growing season rainfall
Irrigators could achieve a 10-30% improvement in water productivity by adopting precision irrigation techniques(GSR – 1 April – 31 October).
In stark contrast, 2020 saw a great start to the year with rain providing a full profile of moisture at The Fettell Centre. First time sowing occurred on 13th March with 2nd time of sowing on 20th April. Already plant growth has been rigorous reflecting these optimum conditions.