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 448 IREC Farmers' Newsletter No. 197 — Autumn 2017 As pecans have staggered ripening, pecan harvest is made up of two rounds of shaking. The first shake starts late April and is finished by mid-May. After the trees lose their leaves and the remaining nuts have ripened, the second shake occurs in June–July. At harvest, the nuts are shaken from the trees onto the ground, swept into windrows and then collected into bins. The nuts are de-husked on farm at Moree, and then shipped and cool-stored at Stahmann Farms’ Toowoomba plant where they are shelled and packed as required. Hi-tech handling for high quality grain On our return home, on day three of the trip, we made an impromptu visit to Phillip and Natalie Christie’s property Ellematta located near Bellata, south of Moree. Phil and Natalie run a dryland and irrigation enterprise growing cotton, wheat, chickpeas and faba beans, along with some livestock. Nine years ago the Christies set up a grain-handling business. The state of the art grain business includes weighbridge, 25,000 tonnes of sealed storage and computer controlled grain moving equipment. All of this allows the Christies to blend grain to obtain ideal moisture content, protein levels, screenings and test weights, all in a safe and efficient way. Grains handled through the system include wheat, chickpeas, faba beans and occasionally sorghum. The Christies cater specifically for the overseas container market and export to countries sourcing high- quality grains. More automated siphons The final site visited was Steve Carolan’s Wee Waa property, Waverley. Steve and his farm manager Andrew Greste operate 6500 ha of crops, both irrigated and dryland, growing cotton, wheat, faba beans and chickpeas. Andrew showed us the automated siphon system installed at Waverley. The siphons are actually 4 m long, 75 mm straight pipes, installed through the bank of the field supply lateral with a laser level to ensure they are all the same height to guarantee uniform water delivery. The supply lateral is fed by a larger supply channel and is divided into ‘bays’ that correspond to 150 furrows in the field. Each bay has a weir structure in the supply lateral to hold and deliver water through the siphons to the furrows. Depending on supply volume a number of bays can be opened at the same time if required. With a flow rate of up to 6 L/s per siphon and the 600 m long runs, each bay takes about eight hours to irrigate. The team at Waverley has learnt that to prevent erosion of the rota bucks on the outlet end, the siphons should be installed 200 mm above the furrow water height. The siphons are installed with a reverse grade of 100 mm so they drain back into the supply lateral. At around $1000/ha (including automation), with no problems of trash blocking the siphons or erosion of the rota bucks, Waverley management is converting another 1600 ha to this system. Benefits of getting out and about There is always something to be learnt from others, and this trip was no different. Everybody on the trip learnt something and enjoyed the opportunity to talk with other irrigators, share farming experiences and see how it’s done in the north. Many irrigators are very interested in automating their surface irrigation layouts, thus there was tremendous interest in the two automated siphon systems at Waverly and Red Mill. Most people saw the potential of the siphon through the bank system at Waverley. One attendee is intending to set up two trial sites for next season to understand which systems work best in their farming operation. One Grain-handling facilities at Ellematta, for the supply of high-quality grain, including wheat, chickpeas and faba beans, for the overseas container market. The automated siphon system developed at Waverley is proving successful and a significant area of the property is being converted to the system. site will install the Waverley siphon system while the other will trial the larger pipe through the bank/pontoon supply system. Some of the other lessons learned from the trip included: l   row spacing (30 inch versus 40 inch) doesn’t make much of a difference l  ‘pipe through the bank’ is a viable option with the right soil types l  the need to improve controlled trafficking to prevent compaction l  we know we are on the right track with irrigation on our soils with the bankless channel system. Another trip is planned for 2018 to attend the Keytah field day and visit Cubbie Station in southern Queensland. Further information Iva Quarisa T: 02 6963 0936 E: iva@irec.org.au