Smarter Irrigation for Profit 2 (SIP2) is being delivered from 2019 to 2022 across three irrigation seasons. There are four dairy industry projects that collectively aim to get the irrigation fundamentals right on farm, increase adoption of existing technologies and explore the potential of new strategies and technologies not yet adopted in dairy. These are:
- What is my yield gap? Maximising water productivity - Dairy Australia
- Beyond Water Smart - Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)
- Scaling irrigation management to support whole farm operations - Agriculture Victoria (AgVic)
- Precise real-time automated irrigation for cotton and dairy - University of Southern Queensland & TIA
SIP2: What is my yield gap? Maximising water productivity
This project aims to fast-track adoption of SIP1 key findings through trials, measurement and benchmarking on 10 Dairy Optimisation Sites. It will also evaluate the improved yield and water/power efficiency outcomes by collecting data using standard water productivity and economic metrics across all sites.
All dairy regions of Australia have businesses that use irrigation but the types of application and agronomic systems are diverse. For this reason, new technologies and strategies are being trialled and evaluated in a local context, with input from farmers and service providers of the Dairy Optimisation Site reference group.
The location and systems of the 10 Dairy Optimisation Sites
<Insert Interactive Map> (provides location, irrigations system, agronomic system)
Measuring outcomes for dairy
To measure the dairy specific outcomes of the What is my yield gap project, standard metrics and measurement equipment has been applied at each site. This will maximise industry-wide impact and confidently assesses the efficiency and production outcomes of adopting certain practices and innovations.
- Soil moisture monitors installed: capacitance probes, real-time telemetry and app-accessible reporting to monitor the effectiveness of irrigation and rainfall on soil moisture
- System evaluations undertaken: baseline versus improved system efficiencies, including pumps
- Yield monitoring using rising plate meters or electronic meters. Measurements are entered into the online tool, Pasture.io, to monitor and assess growth rates and validate against satellite measurement systems. IrriSAT is being used for cropping sites
- Irrigation scheduling using IrriPasture, an online weather-based water balance calculator. IrriSAT is being used for cropping sites
Below is the standard reporting table being used.
| DM production
|| Energy use
| Growth rate
|| Total costs ($)
| Energy costs
||Total costs ($)
(per metre head pumped)
| kWh/ML/m head
Dairy Australia is ensuring farmers have access to the latest information to optimise pasture and crop yield potential from irrigation water while improving input efficiency of water, power and labour to increase farm profit.