Life on the dairy farm has become much easier for Craig Emmett since installing a pipe and riser irrigation system to grow feed for his jersey herd.
He says what used to be a full time job for him and his father to irrigate, has been reduced to a 30 second click of a computer button by converting their open channels into pipes and risers four years ago as part of an on-farm infrastructure upgrade program.
It resolved some of their supply issues with different heights of paddock, but the biggest change was in becoming fully automated.
“Our scheduling and timings of irrigation is so much easier than in the past on open channel,” says Craig.
“The timing of water is critical to maximising growth and now we can put the water on and take it off the paddock so much quicker which frees up the pasture to grow.”
The pump puts out about 16 MegaLitres of water a day when running at its usual 85 per cent capacity. Craig has found this significantly reduces the power costs while still meeting his needs.
They also included fertigation injection into the system, saving them another job they’d previously done manually.
The Emmetts had converted 60 hectares of their Jersey Stud at Stanhope to automated Pipe and Riser Irrigation three years ago but recently put in a further 30 hectares of irrigation after acquiring land from their neighbours. This section is manually operated.
“The Pipe and Riser system has been brilliant – the best thing we’ve ever done,” says Craig.
The Emmetts worked with Total Eden Shepparton to plan for their conversion from open channel to pipe and riser.
Total Eden’s branch manager Andrew Chittick says the Emmett family thought ahead when preparing to transition. They considered the features they had with open channel and what they wanted in the new system.
Deciding to incorporate fertigation injection and soil moisture monitoring as part of the new design has proven to be a massive time saver.
“Soil moisture monitoring allows the grower more data so they can apply water when the plant requires it, not wait until it starts to become stressed,” said Andrew.
“It lets you forward forecast instead of being reactive.”
Andrew acknowledges the upfront capital costs required to put in a new irrigation system but says one advantage of the Pipe and Riser system is that it can be easily installed in stages.
“As water becomes increasingly valuable, the Pipe and Riser system’s ability to create water savings, reduce water costs and increase crop yield are more important than ever.”
Total Eden’s connection with the Ruralco network can help farmers access finance for these projects.
To find out how a Pipe and Riser system can save you time and money contact Total Eden Shepparton on (03) 58 222 600.