January 2017

Update: Maximising On-Farm Irrigation Profitability Project

By John Smith, Research Officer – Irrigation, NSW DPI Yanco

The Maximising On-Farm Irrigation Profitability Project has entered its second season of field experiments, building on results from the first season. Researchers are further investigating the interactions between irrigation and nitrogen management in cotton and maize, the impact of rice water management on the soil suitability for winter cropping, the impact of irrigation design on drainage times, and economics of ‘old’ and ‘new’ irrigation layouts.

This season, the cotton site is located at ‘Point Farms’ and has a greater focus on irrigation deficit using the grower standard and both shorter and longer intervals to investigate the impact on N uptake, efficiency and lint yield. Deakin University, who are overseeing this site, are also further developing the use of remote sensing in the prediction of N uptake in cotton that will enable better prediction and fine tuning of N applications in-crop.

The maize site at Numurkah, overseen by the Irrigated Cropping Council, is repeating the experiment from last year where different management strategies are being used to apply the same amount of N and irrigation is being varied, with normal grower practice and a shorter irrigation interval.  Last season the shorter irrigation interval and having more N applied up-front provided the best yield. The project aims to confirm this result with a second season.

Soil chemical properties during- and post-rice is the focus for the rice component this season utilising a site at the Yanco Ag Institute where we will also have an initial ‘play’ with flushing finishing the rice and measure any changes in soil chemistry that this may have. The rice site, hosted by Southern Growers, is being redeveloped this season to enable the accurate water measurement for proper water productivity calculations.

With the assistance of Rubicon, the hydrology component of the project overseen by NSW DPI has been measuring water flows and movement within different irrigation layouts in commercial fields. This information will be used to ensure the accuracy of the modelling that is being used to develop design criteria for new surface irrigation layouts.

NSW DPI is also undertaking an economic assessment of new and old layouts. This will be done through case studies of several growers in each of the grower group areas associated with the project.

A farm tour in early February organised and hosted by IREC, will allow growers from southern NSW to go to northern NSW and talk with growers and researchers about some of their issues across a range of industries.

The project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit Programme, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

For further information, contact John Smith:

Phone: (02) 6951 2503 | Email: [email protected]

IREC breakfast meetings

We can confirm the following IREC breakfast meetings in February 2017. The breakfast meetings will start at 7.30am and be finished by 9.30-10.

Please contact Hayley at IREC, if you would like to know more:

Phone: (02) 6963 0936 | Email: [email protected]

Monday, 13 February – Whitton

Rob Houghton’s property, Gogeldrie Road Whitton

Looking at his new pipe through the bank and automation system.

Tuesday, 14 February – Yenda

Rumel Toor’s property, Golsby-Smith Lane Yenda

Looking at rice on beds into cotton stubble.

Wednesday, 15 February – Coleambally

Coly Demo Farm

Looking at new rice variety YRM70 and ginning quality of late-picked cotton.

Thursday, 16 February – Benerembah

Andrighetto’s Farm, Clark Rd Benerembah

Looking at the use of drones in farming decisions.

Friday, 17 February – Yanco


Looking at aerobic rice and green-house gas emission trial.

Visit the Events page of our website, for details on all IREC events.

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