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Western Dairy participated in the national Smarter Irrigation for Profit project that ran from 2016 to 2018. The project targeted 3,000 irrigators from the cotton, sugar and dairy industries. In Western Australia baseline data was collected from two dairy farms. In the 2018/19 Summer, under Western Dairy funding, a second project was established, where the focus is on measuring the production potential of kikuyu pastures in irrigated systems. Trials are currently underway on four farms in the South West.

Kikuyu Project 2018/2019

This year Western Dairy has established four demonstration sites that represent different irrigation scenarios in WA. We will monitor crop performance including dry matter and nutrient yields, water use efficiency and costs. All sites are on dairy grazing platforms with naturally established kikuyu pastures:

  1. Centre pivot, fresh water: Harvey Agricultural College dairy farm (Harvey)
  2. Surface irrigation, fresh water: Stuart & Narelle Maughan's dairy farm and Phil & Suzanne Hall's dairy farm (Harvey)
  3. Surface irrigation, salt load water: Anthony & Jenelle Commisso's dairy farm (Waterloo) 

Farmers will schedule irrigation with the help of Wildeye soil moisture probes that have been set up at each site. Plots will be harvested using a lawn mower. There are six plots within each site that have the following treatments:

  1. Harvested at 4 - 4.5 leaf stage vs long rotation (harvested at every second harvest date)
  2. Nitrogen application rates: Nil, 1.2, 2.4 and 3.6 units of N/day
  3. Fertilising frequency: Every harvest vs every second harvest 

Current Results: Kikuyu Project 2018/2019

Final Results - Presented in April: Kikuyu Summary Results 2019

Smarter Irrigation for Profit

The purpose of the Smarter Irrigation for Profit project in WA was to highlight the improvements in productivity that can be gained through enhanced irrigation management. The project in WA had monitoring sites on Mick & Sophia Giumelli's dairy farm in Benger and Anthony & Jenelle Commisso's dairy farm in Waterloo. Mick & Sophia Giumelli were also hosts of the 2018 Dairy Innovation Day.

In the summer of 2017/18 baseline data was collected for surface irrigated maize and lablab (Benger), and grazed kikuyu and millet (Waterloo). The objective was to measure yields and water use efficiencies (WUE) to compare with industry standards and to quantify any potential yield gaps.

Download the project report here

Download Dave Barber's presentation from DID18 here. Dave is a Senior Research Scientist at the Queensland Dept. of Agriculture and fisheries. 

Dairy Innovation Day Report 2018

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