Project to im­prove ir­ri­ga­tion prof­its for grow­ers

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - WATER/IRRIGATION -

A project aimed at im­prov­ing the profit of 3,000 cot­ton, dairy, rice and sugar ir­ri­ga­tors was an­nounced in early May as one of 12 suc­cess­ful Ru­ral R&D for Profit pro­gramme projects. The project, Smarter ir­ri­ga­tion for profit, is a part­ner­ship be­tween the ma­jor ir­ri­ga­tion in­dus­tries of cot­ton, dairy, rice and sugar, led by the Cot­ton Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (CRDC) in con­junc­tion with Dairy Aus­tralia, the Ru­ral In­dus­tries Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (RIRDC), Sugar Re­search Aus­tralia and other re­search part­ners. The project aims to im­prove the profit of each in­di­vid­ual ir­ri­ga­tor en­ter­prise across the four in­dus­tries by $20,000-40,000 per an­num, with the sup­port of 16 R&D part­ners and up to 19 farmer-man­aged learn­ing sites. CRDC Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Bruce Fin­ney wel­comed the an­nounce­ment of today's fund­ing, which will see up to $4 mil­lion directed from the Ru­ral R&D for Profit pro­gramme to this project. “Ir­ri­gated agriculture is re­spon­si­ble for 30 per­cent of all agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia, and half the profit. This is a large-scale, am­bi­tious project de­signed to achieve a 10-20 per­cent im­prove­ment in wa­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity, ef­fi­ciency and farmer prof­itabil­ity, while also im­prov­ing cross­sec­tor in­dus­try re­search col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Mr Fin­ney said. “It is de­signed to in­crease on-farm prof­itabil­ity by in­te­grat­ing new ir­ri­ga­tion sched­ul­ing and de­liv­ery tech­nolo­gies into good ir­ri­ga­tion prac­tice. It will build on pre­vi­ous re­search to drive ad­di­tional im­prove­ments in cot­ton and rice, and will trans­fer learn­ings from the crop­ping in­dus­tries to dairy,” Mr Fin­ney said. “Our aim is to in­crease on-farm profit through the adop­tion of au­to­mated and pre­ci­sion ap­pli­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies across all in­dus­tries. CRDC is also a part­ner in four other projects that have been se­lected for fund­ing as part of the an­nounce­ment: • Stim­u­lat­ing pri­vate sec­tor ex­ten­sion in Aus­tralian agriculture to in­crease re­turns from R&D, led by Dairy Aus­tralia; • Im­proved use of sea­sonal fore­cast­ing to in­crease farmer prof­itabil­ity, led by RIRDC; • A prof­itable fu­ture for Aus­tralian agriculture: Biore­finer­ies for high­er­value an­i­mal feeds, chem­i­cals, and fu­els, led by Sugar Re­search Aus­tralia; and • Con­sol­i­dat­ing tar­geted and prac­ti­cal ex­ten­sion ser­vices for Aus­tralian Farm­ers and Fish­ers, led by RIRDC.

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