Delivering improvements in WUE
Soil moisture measurements are used to predict and schedule irrigations, but the data could also be used to calculate water use efficiency. The effective gain of each irrigation can be calculated from the measurements. Together with the delivered amounts WUE reports can be output.
- Every irrigator has a consultant/advisor who visits 1-2 times per week
- Consultant takes measurements, calculates crop water use and effectiveness of previous irrigation
- Discuss/advise grower when and how much to irrigate
- Also records delivered water amounts, and calculate the irrigation efficencies (effective/delivered)
- Data uploaded by consultant to central database (using XML)
- Data could also be exported as 'water orders' to water supply authority
At end of season produce a WUE audit report...
- Total water delivered (incl. rain)
- Total effective water used by crop
- Efficiency (effective/delivered)
- Efficiency (Ml/tonne)
Report/data uploaded to central database
* In return the grower gets a 'rebate' for any water they do not use from their allocation
- All this can be done now (and is being done)
- Improvements in WUE will only come from on-the-farm, specific advice to grower
- 1 day courses in classrooms do not change what is done in practice
- Giving soil moisture sensors to growers without on-the-farm training and support is a waste
- Will give high-quality data for water delivery, and statistics on crop water usage.
- Cost to grower will be $2-3,000 p.a. minimum
- Grower pays because it gives improvements in quality and yield
- The rebate only needs to be a few thousand to get farmers on-side
- Consultants need training and accreditation, both classroom and on-the-job.
- Proposal is independant of instrument or software