Re­view farm en­ergy and wa­ter use now

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - News - By BRUCE DIF­FEY

AUS­TRALIAN farm­ers are quick to adapt to tech­nol­ogy to au­to­mate ir­ri­ga­tion.

In the past 20 years we haveseen­govern­mentspro­vide in­cen­tive for up­grad­ing an out­dated ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, par­tic­u­larly in the Vic­to­ri­anGoul­burnMur­ray ir­ri­ga­tion district.

The cat­a­lysts were drought and the es­tab­lish­ment of the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Author­ity (MDBA) which have forced farm­ers to be­come ef­fi­cient and look to nu­tri­tion­ists for grain sup­ple­ment and to move­awayfromper­ma­nent sum­mer pas­ture ir­ri­ga­tion.

The shift has been from flood ir­ri­ga­tion with open de­liv­ery chan­nels to piped au­to­mated ris­ers ac­ti­vated by mo­bile phone, higher flows,less­wa­t­er­ap­plied­per wa­ter­ing, less fer­tiliser and less cool­ing of soil.

The ac­cep­tance of low­pres­sure, cen­tre pivot or lin­ear move pro­vides im­proved­pro­duc­tionof­fod­der and crop.

On the federal level it is pleas­ing to read that the govern­ment will min­imise buy­back in the south­ern MDBA.

The as­sess­ment, in my opin­ion, is jus­ti­fied as demon­strated by the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Hold­ers’ (CEWH) loss of about 112 gi­gal­itres due to the spill pol­icy in 2013-2014.

In 2014-2015, the CEWH will be trad­ing al­lo­ca­tion, which seems to be at odds with the orig­i­nal mis­sion state­ment.

Farm gate price profit will be in­creas­ingly de­pen­dent on farm­ers tak­ing theop­por­tu­ni­ty­to­min­imise la­bor and en­ergy by us­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Dur­ingth­e­last100years, govern­ment and pri­vate in­dus­try have pur­sued oil, gas and coal at any cost to ini­tially pro­vide the trans­port of people and freight.

The car in­dus­try now leads the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try around the world, while pro­vid­ing jobs.

The mo­torist is much like a farmer - by be­ing a price taker.

Cur­rent diesel prices are on the rise, so I sug­gest you re­view your us­age and try to min­imise.

Elec­tric­ity use for dairy and ir­ri­ga­tion should also be re­viewed.

Mod­els pre­sented for re­turn on in­vest­ment (ROI) need to be cur­rent (not three years or older).

A ma­jor price re­duc­tion on so­lar pan­els means that what was not fea­si­ble in 2011is­worthget­tingquotes for in 2014.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are de­signed to pro­vide for your needs, not for the feed-in tar­iff. Quotes reg­u­larly show 20 per cent ROI for busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions. This is the way to go.

Diesel and elec­tric­ity are costs that you can ig­nore or man­age to in­crease your prof­its.

For ir­ri­ga­tors in Vic­to­ria the State Govern­ment has an­nounced ma­jor changes to the trans­fer of land.

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