Dairy Australia is committed to inspiring dairy businesses to be more agile and responsive through greater technology and data integration.
The Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2 project, in its second year, is delivering the latest in innovative tools and technology for dairy farmers to enhance their irrigation efficiency.
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.
- Dairy farmers in irrigation areas plan for life with less water
- Irrigation timing key in pasture trial
To deliver the project, Dairy Australia has partnered with a range of agricultural sectors and the Australian government 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."
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.
Utilising the technology
Dairy Farmers like Will Russell in Bega, NSW, have found the technology useful.
By utilising 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 increased dry matter yield, to more than ten tons 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," he said.
"We are growing more feed off the same area, and because of that, we're milking more cows than ever before too."
- The Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2 project is supported by funding from the Australian government Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, and Dairy Australia.