Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 445 IREC Farmers' Newsletter No. 197 — Autumn 2017 5 IREC Farmers' Newsletter No. 197 — Autumn 2017 Chairman’s foreword Welcome to the Farmers’ Newsletter, the third in the new digital format. We hope this edition, and IREC’s coming events, help you prepare for the winter crop season. A VERY wet winter in 2016 has presented many challenges in setting up and establishing summer crops for 2017. However, it also has delivered 100% allocation in both the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys, which is very welcome. With storage dams at reasonable levels for this time of year we can expect a better than average start-up allocation for the 2017–18 crop year. So the ball is firmly in our court to make sound decisions around how we best use this water to maintain a profitable business and have some cash left over to improve our asset base. There are many ways to improve our irrigation farming systems. The new layout and automated supply system at the IREC Field Station is a great showcase of what is possible to improve our surface irrigation system, providing better crop conditions and a range of lifestyle benefits. The next stage of development is a fully automated recirculation system that will complement the existing automated supply system. If you haven’t had a chance to visit the field station I urge you to do so. It is there to benefit all members. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for this project, the Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC), Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) and Riverina Local Land Services (RLLS) for their ongoing support. Murrumbidgee Irrigation is busy putting a case study together looking at the possibility of automating some or all of Division 3 Yanco, which supplies the IREC Field Station. This project should get underway this winter, which is an exciting prospect for all of us in the MIA. IREC is planning a Drone and Technology Day coming up in June 2017. There will be a range of cutting-edge technologies on display from Deakin University, with a close look at the use of drones in our irrigated farming systems. Drone technology is being used on farm now with huge potential for many other applications into the future. You can read all about the Drone and Technology Day on page 10. Please check the IREC website for details and make sure you book this day in. IREC recently conducted a three-day bus trip to the Gwydir Valley to attend, amongst other things, the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association annual research field day. We had a close look at row spacings in cotton, saw the 'smart siphon' in action, and toured Stahmann Farms’ pecan nut farm. We learnt a lot from our northern friends and from each other, with some good guest speakers in the evening and plenty of banter on the bus. Thanks everyone who joined this tour. You can read more about the tour on page 6. Thanks to everyone who gave up their time to participate in the IREC breakfast meetings in February. These meetings are invaluable to IREC and our RDCs, who rely on farmer input for future research ideas and investment. When all the information is collated we will keep you informed of any developments. Until then you can read about the priorities raised from each of the meetings on page 40. I hope you enjoy this edition of the Farmers’ Newsletter. Any feedback on the digital format of this magazine would be welcomed. Regards, Robert Houghton