It builds on the research developed in the three-year Smarter Irrigation for Profit 1 project and tests those findings at Dairy Optimisation Sites across all dairying regions in Australia.
These sites are dairy farms that are set up to test the latest in innovative irrigation technology and measure how effective it is in ensuring optimal water efficiency.
To deliver the project, Dairy Australia has partnered with a range of agricultural sectors, as well as the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.
“More dairy farmers than ever are taking advantage of irrigation to increase their production in drier months,” Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said.
“We want to ensure dairy farmers have access to the latest information to increase pasture and crop yield from their water, to get more crop for their drop.
“The technologies used in the Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2 project help farmers make better irrigation decisions, thereby improving water efficiency and creating more profit.”
Technology like soil moisture monitoring probes and apps have been tested on Dairy Optimisation Site farms across Australia, and are available for dairy farmers to use.
Dairy Farmers like Will Russell from Bega, in NSW, have found the technology useful.
By using soil moisture monitoring and weather forecasting apps like SWAN, he has modified his irrigation scheduling to ensure it is more efficient.
“It’s made the decision-making process easier,” Will said.
“The technology we use tells us in black and white ‘we need to irrigate now’.”
In Will’s experience, using this technology resulted in an increase in dry matter yield, to more than 10 tonnes of dry matter per hectare for the six-month irrigation season.
“There is no doubt in my mind that knowing when to start irrigating is helping us to produce more feed than before and keep our soil moisture at the right levels.
“We are growing more feed off the same area, and because of that we’re milking more cows than ever before too.”