A wet winter and spring across most eastern Australian farming and cropping regions has focused attention on drainage issues according to scraper manufacturer, Murray Valley Lasers.
And farmers now seeing production losses due to water logged crops has bought on-property drainage into sharp focus.
Improved farm drainage systems can also assist in retaining soil moisture in drier years by controlling runoff flows, the company said.
Corporate grower, Lawson Grains bought an O’Bryan farmer carry scraper in 2015 to use on its “Uah” property near Forbes to improve the on-farm drainage and water use efficiency
Lawson has now placed an order for a second unit destined for their “Grassmere” property between Oaklands and Urana in southern NSW, to improve drainage.
This will help to ensure seasonal water flows do not cause a loss of highly productive cropping areas and also assist in increasing long-term water use efficiency.
It is also anticipated to allow for more efficient water penetration in drier years as the speed of excess water runoff is expected to slow.
The O’Bryan farmer scraper will be used to create shallow drainage channels measuring about five metres wide with a bottom width equal to the 3.9m cut of the leading edge of the scraper.
The scraper matches the property’s existing John Deere 8000 Series tracked tractors.
Lawson Grains’ “Grassmere” manager Ben Armstrong said the company would invest up to 600 hours to move 80 to 120,000 cubic metres of soil to improve drainage.
“It will see excess water stored in existing on farm depressions,” he said.
“The project is using the John Deere iGrade technology with the T3ERRA software of Precision Terrain Solutions for the in-cab design and implementation.
“Our tractor operators will have a 3D design, mapping and works package displayed in front of them on a touch screen in the tractor cabin,” he said.
Colin O’Bryan from Murray Valley Lasers said more than 15 of the new design carry scrapers were at work.
“There has been a strong increase in construction of farm or regional drainage works, especially where the excess water can be diverted to existing depressions or storages,” he said.
“The ability to equip O’Bryan scrapers with GPS design and project management software [has] advantages in terms of cost and efficiency for both farmers and contractors.
“We can also supply GPS and drainage design works programs to suit.
“The scrapers are compatible with any choice of laser grade control and are also ideal for 3D leveling.”