Improving performance of bay irrigation through higher flow rates

Gillies, Malcolm and Smith, Rod and Williamson, Bill and Shanahan, Matthew (2010) Improving performance of bay irrigation through higher flow rates. In: Australian Irrigation Conference and Exibition 2010: One Water Many Futures, 8-11 June 2010, Sydney, Australia.

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Bay (border check) irrigation systems are utilised extensively throughout the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID). However, the performance of these systems have rarely been assessed, in part due to the difficulty in determining the soil intake function. The CRC for Irrigation Futures has recently completed a project to demonstrate the Irrimate™ performance evaluation process in bay irrigation through on-farm trials. The Irrimate™ approach originally developed for furrow irrigation has already provided real benefits to farmers and has been accepted across the cotton industry.

Bay irrigation has a number of unique characteristics which presented a number of challenges for the tools used to evaluate furrow irrigation. Informed by field trials, new monitoring strategies were tested and new modelling approaches developed in order to provide the same robust evaluation procedure for bay systems. Evaluations provide objective information to irrigators both quantifying efficiencies of current practices and providing strategies to improve performance.

Trials were conducted across 11 sites in order to benchmark current performance and to examine the potential advantages of higher flow rates. Performance varied widely between sites with application efficiencies ranging from 45.9% to 89.5%. Initial modelling indicated that higher flow rates offer potential to increase efficiency. Trials in the second season confirmed the modelling work demonstrating water savings in excess of 20% through flow rates approximately double the conventional rates. The results also show that higher flow rates do not automatically lead to higher efficiency. When adopting higher flow rates irrigators must have greater control over cut-off times. System evaluation is an essential step to reap the benefits of higher flows. The results of this study provide objective information for the modernisation of irrigation systems in the GMID.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with blanket permission of Irrigation Australia Ltd. This paper was not refereed.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2010 12:21
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2014 23:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: bay, border check, surface irrigation, water use efficiency, pasture, dairy, infiltration, high flow, irrigation, GMID, Irrimate
Fields of Research (2008): 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.)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4099 Other engineering > 409901 Agricultural engineering
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300201 Agricultural hydrology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management

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