Modernisation of furrow irrigation in the sugar industry: final report 2014/079

Gillies, M. and Attard, S. and Foley, J. (2017) Modernisation of furrow irrigation in the sugar industry: final report 2014/079. Project Report. Sugar Research Australia , Brisbane, Australia. [Report]

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Automated furrow irrigation systems have been successfully installed and operated on 160 ha of furrow irrigation, on three farms located across the Burdekin sugarcane growing region. The once labour intensive manual irrigation management has been transformed by allowing growers to control, schedule and monitor the behaviour of the pumps, pipeline and valves remotely from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Significant reductions of energy, water, labour and travel associated with irrigation management were seen across all three, large-scale demonstration sites. Reduced labour and travel was seen at each site, with one site registering an annual saving of at least 11,000 km travel. At two of the sites, reduced water usage of around 10% of annual usage was obtained and corresponded to a direct saving in water costs; and for one of these sites, the reduced water usage directly results in a reduced energy cost, while for the other, offers the potential to sell the saved water on the open market. Irrigation events can be scheduled to occur when they are required or to suit off peak electricity tariffs rather than when they suit labour availability.

All three farmers recognised the quality of life improvements, and notably their ability to have more time for their family and improved sleeping habits.

While assessing improvements to off-site impacts was not part of the project, they are expected as a direct result of the reduction in excess irrigation flowing through to a reduction of irrigation-induced run-off and/or deep drainage and the dissolved agri-chemicals it may contain.

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Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Sugar Research Australia Limited 2017. Copyright in this document is owned by Sugar Research Australia Limited (SRA) or by one or more other parties which have provided it to SRA, as indicated in the document. With the exception of any material protected by a trade mark, this document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial 4.0 International licence (as described through this link). Any use of this publication, other than as authorised under this licence or copyright law, is prohibited. - This link takes you to the relevant licence conditions, including the full legal code. In referencing this document, please use the citation identified in the document.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 22 May 2018 00:04
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 03:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: knowledge and technology transfer and adoption, farming systems, harvesting
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820304 Sugar

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