‘As good as it gets’ in irrigation science
3 September 2019
Irrigators are reporting bigger crops, better prices and greater water savings after increasing the use of science and technology on their farms.
Table grape, citrus and pistachio nut growers from the Mallee’s Sunraysia irrigation district have spoken of the benefits of receiving irrigation incentives and training from Agriculture Victoria and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA).
Tablegrape grower Anthony Cirillo said help to install “cutting edge technology” had resulted in bigger crops and better-quality fruit using “the same, if not less, water”.
SJDC Produce director Domenic Sergi said help to install soil moisture monitoring equipment had resulted in an earlier harvest which “has obvious benefits in terms of price”.
“I think the incentive program really worked for me because with the training we were able to work out what to plant and what was suitable for our property and the incentives they provided allowed me to make sure that the systems that we put in were state-of-the-art,” Mr Sergi said.
Merbein Pistachios farm manager Chris Rayner said the technical knowledge and understanding he could now apply to their 60-hectare planting was “as good as it gets”.
“The core benefits really are what you learn during the process,” Mr Rayner said.
“The financial side of things is just a bonus at the end.”
The growers were supported by the Mallee CMA’s Irrigation Efficiency Incentives Program open to irrigators for work that can be shown to save water, prevent salinity and protect native vegetation.
They also attended irrigation management and drip maintenance courses run by Agriculture Victoria that provided them with information about Mallee soils, how to apply the right amount of water at the right time and information about scheduling tools and programs to get the timing of irrigations right.
These growers improved their irrigation management by upgrading infrastructure, adopting new scheduling tools and doing soil surveys that gave them a better understanding of how best to irrigate their land, manage their crops and not over-water.
For more about our support for irrigators, see agriculture.vic.gov.au/irrigation.
For more about the incentives programs, see malleecma.vic.gov.au.
Contact Name: Deb Banks
Contact Number: 0447 388 193
Categorised under: Agriculture