Project to improve irrigation profits for growers
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.