How many of us wish we could buy more time?
Dairy farmer Simon Portwine has achieved that by making the decision to convert half of the 65 paddocks on his Bamawm farm to a pipe and riser irrigation system.
He’d been using border check irrigation to grow feed for his Friesian herd for around 15 years but was keen to make his farm more water efficient.
Recognising the undulating lie of his 250-acre property gave him a gravity-fed option, Simon took the opportunity to access government funding for a new underground pipeline system to grow his maize, pasture and lucerne.
He’s now been using the pipe and riser set up for a few months and the difference, he says, has been significant.
It’s put an end to leakage and weed blockage issues, and he has a reliable flow of water at his fingertips.
“Before, when I started watering it would take 30 minutes to an hour before the water would get to a paddock so I could water it. Now I turn it on and the water is away out onto the bay pretty much instantly,” says Simon.
“I can water one end of the farm and can water the complete opposite end of the farm at the same time. There’s no lay time, I just go.”
He says the convenience of being able to water a paddock as soon as the cows walk out of it without having to wait for a whole channel to fill has saved him a lot of time, not just during watering periods.
“I don’t have to spray channels anymore,” he says.
“I’m no longer driving around every six to eight weeks from September to April spending one to two hours at a time spraying for weeds and getting it all over myself.
“It’s another job I don’t have to do and, if everything goes according to plan, I should be able to grow more grass because the water won’t be sitting on the paddock for as long.”
Simon worked with Total Eden Cohuna to get the right design and price for his needs.
He says the most important part was working out where the pipes should go and what size pipes would be best suited to his farm, and his budget.
The ability to be able to water at a rate of 10 megalitres a day using gravity pressure alone – he doesn’t even have to turn the pump on – gave him the added advantage of reduced fuel and pump maintenance costs.
“When I was initially looking into it, Total Eden was very competitive and they were very good at helping with the design, says Simon.
“It’s a big job, but they had a lot of experience in these systems and they gave me confidence they knew how to make it work for me.
“It’s still early days but so far I’m very happy with the investment.”
Total Eden Cohuna’s branch manager Luke Fulton has found farmers love the flexibility a pipe and riser system gives them.
“It eliminates seepage and evaporation, and you don’t have to fill a whole channel at once and water the whole area in one go. You just open the riser outlet on the pipeline where you want the water to go and you’re away,” he says.
Depending on soil type, farmers can achieve 10-20 per cent water savings and that efficiency will be ongoing year after year.
“When you think about how much water is being used over the property, that is a huge cost saving over time,” says Luke.
To find out how a Pipe and Riser system can save you time and money contact Total Eden Cohuna on (03) 5456 2664.