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Water Smart Cotton and Grains in NSW

Irrigators want to improve WUE in terms of bales per ML or tonnes per ML, with the intention to maximise their profitability or $/ML. An important step to achieving this is through the adoption of irrigation management best practices. Consultants will be mentored to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver a range of irrigation services. Irrigation training, farm walks and technology demonstrations will provide the platform of knowledge transfer and encourage the adoption of irrigation best practices to improve WUE. Water use indices will be calculated for both the cotton and grains industries to provide a benchmark to gauge future changes in WUE.

Recent Activities

During the first half of 2009, the project team will be surveying cotton and grain irrigators to establish water use efficiency benchmarks.  NSW DPI previously conducted a survey of 36 cotton farms from Hillston to Emerald and found a 40 percent increase in water use efficiency since 2003.  This project will expand the collection of this important benchmarking information to include the both the cotton and grains industries.  Data will be obtained from around 60 cotton and 60 wheat irrigators located from Southern NSW through to Central Qld so as to benchmark irrigation water use for the cotton industry during the 2008/09 season and for irrigated wheat during the 2008 season.  Consultants will play a role in the collection of this data through the consultants support program.  After receiving training in the on-line benchmarking tool Watertrack Rapid, project officers will provide support to improve consultant’s knowledge, skills and confidence to offer benchmarking as an irrigation service.

The project will continue the delivery of training workshops on a range of irrigation topics such as those developed as part of the Cotton and Grains Irrigation Workshop Series and the Centre Pivot and Lateral Move National Training Course.

Aims

1) Benchmark irrigation water use efficiency in terms of bales per ML or tonnes per ML for the irrigated cotton and grains industries.

2) Increase consultant’s knowledge, skills and confidence to offer a greater range of irrigation services to growers.
 
3) Promote and deliver irrigation training to cotton and grains irrigators and consultants to increase their knowledge of best irrigation management practice.
 
4) Scope the full upgrade of an Irrigated Cotton and Grains WATERpak.
 
5) Coordinate and or support forums/field days/conferences to build relationships between researchers and extension staff, irrigators and consultants.
 

Background

In recent times, cotton irrigators have shown a growing interest in irrigating winter cereals as the profitability of these crops has improved. Irrigators want to improve their WUE in terms of bales per ML or tonnes per ML, with the intention to maximise their profitability or $/ML. An important step to achieving this is through the adoption of irrigation management best practices.

In an effort to further improve water use efficiency within the cotton and grains industries, this project will build upon the achievements of the preceding ‘Knowledge Management in Irrigated Cotton and Grains’ and ‘Advancing Water Management in NSW’ projects. It will also complement other CRDC and GRDC funded projects such as the ‘High Yielding Irrigated Grains in Cotton Farming Systems’ and ‘Maintaining Profitability and Soil Quality in Cotton Farming Systems III’.  These projects have elements focussing on stimulating adoption of best management irrigation practices and generating greater water use efficiency in both the irrigated cotton and grains industries.
 
This project has been developed based on the recommendations of the ‘Knowledge Management in Irrigated Cotton and Grains’ project evaluation report.
Coutts, J & R. (April 2008), Knowledge management in irrigated cotton and grains (Phase 2). External Evaluation. Internal Document.

Publications and Resources



None listed


Citation

Land & Water Australia. 2009. Water Smart Cotton and Grains in NSW. [Online] (Updated July 30th, 2009)
Available at: http://lwa.gov.au/node/3290 [Accessed Thursday 24th of October 2013 04:02:47 AM ].

Metadata

Project Code:

DAN005162

State & NRM Region(s)

Related Topics

id: 3290 / created: 24 April, 2009 / last updated: 30 July, 2009