Cotton LEADS

Irrigation Research Aims to Boost Profitability
May 28, 2015

Australia’s ‘Smarter irrigation for profit’ research project that aims to improve the profit of cotton, dairy, rice and sugar irrigators has been announced as a part of the Australian Government’s Rural R&D for Profit program. The project – to be rolled out across 19 irrigator-managed demonstration sites, aims to improve the profit of each irrigator by $20,000-40,000 per annum.

The project will take the best available irrigation technologies, trial it with irrigators, and report the findings for all irrigators to utilise.

The project will be conducted using:

  1. Irrigation scheduling technologies (plant, soil, weather)
  2. Smart automated irrigation
  3. Optimised irrigation farms (energy, water nexus)
It is anticipated that the project will deliver:

  • A 10-20% increase in water productivity, efficiency and farmer profitability
  • Support, information and decision-making support tools for irrigators to draw on when considering the most profitable use of water based on water prices, available technologies, consumption and gross margin of crop options
  • Improved cross-sectoral research collaboration
Demonstration sites will be located at Dalby, Narrabri, the Gwydir Valley, Southern NSW, and more.

The project – announced by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce in early May, 2015 – is a partnership led by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) in conjunction with Dairy Australia, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), Sugar Research Australia and other research partners.

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