Furrow irrigation in the Australian cotton industry: alternative water delivery systems and their potential for automation

Koech, R. K. and Smith, R. J. and Gillies, Malcolm H. (2010) Furrow irrigation in the Australian cotton industry: alternative water delivery systems and their potential for automation. Technical Report. University of Southern Queensland, National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture , Toowoomba, Australia. [Report]

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Furrow irrigation, and particularly the use of overbank siphons, is the most popular method in the irrigated cotton industry in Australia. The proportion of the use of pressurised systems in this industry is widely expected to increase but nonetheless furrow irrigation will remain dominant for the foreseeable future. However, furrow irrigation is labour–intensive and often an inefficient method of water application. The desire to reduce labour costs is driving attempts to automate the furrow system. These efforts are mainly focussed on the in-field mode of water delivery into the furrows.
This paper reviews the use of overbank siphons to deliver water to the furrows and the alternative water delivery systems, that is, pipes through the bank (PTB), bankless channels, lined head ditches and gated pipe. The potential for use of each these methods in automated systems is explored. Due to limited published data on the hydraulic design of large diameter gated layflat irrigation tubes, a study was undertaken in the Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Southern Queensland to establish its flow characteristics under low heads and high flow rates typical in the cotton industry.
The reviews demonstrate that siphons are technically difficult to automate. The techniques that have successfully been used to automate check gates in bay irrigation systems can easily be adapted to bankless channels, PTBs and lined head ditches. Large diameter gated layflat irrigation tubes with appropriate outlets can supply high flow rates at low heads and can be automated.

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Item Type: Report (Technical Report)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ publication. Material from this publication may not be used unless prior written approval has been obtained from the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture and the CRC for Cotton Catch-ment Communities.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 01:24
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: furrow irrigation; cotton industry; water delivery; automation
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.)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/9038

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