Smarter irrigation for profit - increasing farm profit through efficient use of irrigation input to dairy pastures

Hills, James and McCarthy, Alison and Foley, Joseph and McLaren, David (2016) Smarter irrigation for profit - increasing farm profit through efficient use of irrigation input to dairy pastures. In: 7th Australian Dairy Science Symposium (2016), 16-18 Nov 2016, Sydney, Australia.

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The dairy industry is the second largest user of irrigation water in Australia. Increasing competition, climate variability and costs of irrigation water, along with reduced water availability are driving farmers to adopt innovative practises and technologies that utilise water as efficiently as possible. The average water usage of Australian dairy farms is 6.3ML/ha, with each ML generating a value of approximately $430. Over 75 percent of the dairy farms in Australia are pasture-based systems. In spite of this fact, and the importance of pasture utilisation in pasture-based dairy systems, pasture utilisation across the industry has remained at 50-60 percent of what is potentially possible. Effective management of the spatial and temporal variability in water demand is viewed as the key to optimising pasture production. Automated precision irrigation is now possible with the deployment of cheap sensors, crop models, and irrigation control systems bundled in appropriate built-in technology. This significant step change in irrigation system capability offers an opportunity for a significant improvement in irrigation performance for all irrigators. This paper provides an overview of how detailed monitoring of five intensively managed irrigated dairy farms in Tasmania is being used to review and enhance industry performance benchmarks. It is aimed to use the outcomes of this work to increase the adoption of enabling practices and new technologies for pressurised irrigation systems in pasture based dairy systems.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 02:25
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2017 04:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dairy industry; irrigation; pastures; profit
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070104 Agricultural Spatial Analysis and Modelling
09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090602 Control Systems, Robotics and Automation
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070302 Agronomy
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management

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