Farm Table says:
The project benchmarks centre pivot (CP) and lateral move (LM) machines in the Queensland Murray Darling Basin. The aim is to identify best practice, ideas and effective operating procedures to improve performance.
The following crops are covered:
- Corn silage
- Cow peas
- Mung beans
The following data was collected:
- Crop type
- Seasonal water use
- Rainfall over the season
- Crop Yield
- Soil Moisture
- Flow rate for systems from previous seasons data;
- Irrigation type (CPLM and siphon irrigation controls)
- Irrigation events, volumes applied and CPLM machine movements from the Pressurised
- Irrigation monitoring System (PIMS), data loggers fitted to the CPLM machines.
A comparison of water use was performed for each of the crop types grown using the Irrigation Water Use Index (IWUI) and Gross Production Water Use Index (GPWUI).
- The GPWUI determined for cotton across the QMDB was 2.98 (bales/ML), mung beans achieved 2.46 (bales/ML), corn achieved 8.38 (bales/ML), sorghum achieved 3.48 (bales/ML), Red Caloona Cowpeas achieved 2.44 (bales/ML) and no yield data was attained for the fodder crops.
- Considering cotton was the largest data set, the GPWUI value achieved means that on average for the 2014/15 season across the QMDB, 2.98 bales of cotton are grown for every 1 ML of total water used by the plant (including effective rainfall, soil moisture, and irrigation).
- Irrigation energy components vary from approximately 13 percent to 81 percent of the total in-field energy costs to produce a crop, depending on the crop type.
- Centre-Pivot and Lateral Move machine accuracy of application is superior to surface irrigation/siphon techniques. CPLM machines can apply small amounts of water at each application, allowing for more frequent irrigations to meet crop water demand, providing a more direct and accurate water application.