What’s the most ef­fi­cient ir­ri­gated wheat sys­tem?

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK - By John Lacy

Ir­ri­ga­tion sea­sons tend to start off with lower al­lo­ca­tions and mar­ket wa­ter op­tions mak­ing it a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for farm­ers to plan their win­ter crop ir­ri­ga­tion strate­gies.

The Finley Dis­cus­sion Groups have been bench­mark­ing ir­ri­ga­tion strate­gies to as­sist farm­ers ob­tain the best ef­fi­cien­cies from their wa­ter use.

The re­sults from 2014, 2015 and 2017 are dis­cussed.

The re­sults showed spray and flood spring wa­ter use above 2ML/ha had the high­est wa­ter ef­fi­cien­cies over the three years.

In 2017 each me­gal­itre ap­plied pro­duced 1.8-1.9 tonnes wheat which is a high ef­fi­ciency.

In 2015 the spray ef­fi­ciency was 1.9t/ML but the flood was much lower at 1.3t/ML be­cause of the very hot day in early Oc­to­ber af­fect­ing higher biomass crops.

Yields for these sys­tems over the three years have ranged from 6.1 to 7.4t/ha.

Last sea­son the spray yielded 6.8t/ha and the flood 7.4t/ha.

The 1.5 to 2ML/ha sys­tem of two spring ir­ri­ga­tions had ef­fi­cien­cies of 1.3t/ML in 2017 to 1.9t/ML in 2014 with yield range 5.4 to 6.2t/ha.

Last sea­son the sys­tem yielded 5.7t/ha.

The lower than 1.5ML/ha sys­tem of 1-2 spring ir­ri­ga­tions had ef­fi­cien­cies of 1t/ML in 2014,1.6t/ML in 2015 and 1.3t/ML last sea­son.

In 2014 the yield was 4.2t/ha, 2015 4.8t/ha and in 2017 5t/ha.

The pre-wa­ter­ing and spring wa­ter­ing sys­tem had the low­est ef­fi­cien­cies of 0.7 to 1.3t/ML with 1t/ML last sea­son. Yield in 2014 was 4.9t/ha, 5.9t/ha in 2015 and 6.2t/ha last sea­son.

John Lacy (pic­tured) is an in­de­pen­dent agri­cul­ture con­sul­tant based in Finley.

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