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

Project report


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

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

Report TypeProject report
AuthorsGillies, M. (Author), Attard, S. (Author) and Foley, J. (Author)
EditorsSamson, Peter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland, National Center for Engineering in Agriculture,
Number of Pages219
Year2017
PublisherSugar Research Australia
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
Web Address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/11079/17116
Abstract

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.

Keywordsknowledge and technology transfer and adoption, farming systems, harvesting
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020409901. Agricultural engineering
300201. Agricultural hydrology
Public Notes

© 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode - 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.

Byline AffiliationsNational Centre for Engineering in Agriculture
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