Using irrigation water to establish profitable pasture and crops

Dairy SA - Dairy Australia

Type: Factsheet
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The question addressed here is, ‘when do I choose to buy water rather than another feed source’.  As with many decisions, everyone's answer will be different.

This fact sheet is by Dairy SA and Dairy Australia and is about using irrigation water to establish profitable pasture and crops.  It is based on the assumption that a farm business plans to source feed for milk production rather than reducing feed demand.

It looks at the following

  • Valuing temporary water for autumn sowing in order to decide if a business should purchase water to grow feed, or purchase another feed source.
  • Estimating the amount of irrigation water required and timing of irrigation.
  • Deciding when to start irrigating.

The key findings of this fact sheet are that in simple terms the value of water will depend on the amount of feed that can be grown from the applied water.

To determine a value for irrigation water individuals need to estimate:

  • The amount of extra water required to grow the feed.
  • The amount of extra feed that is likely to be grown (and consumed) from the extra irrigation.
  • The value of the extra feed grown (compared to other available feed sources of similar quality).

In conclusion the fact sheet states that every season is different.

  • The information provided  in this fact sheet should enable individuals to assess their unique situation and decide on their approach to the autumn.
  • Irrigation water is one of a number of feed sources, and profit will be influenced by your assumptions about which feed source best suit your business.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek individual advice in tight seasons like this one and this can include talking to a neighbour or someone that you trust.
Australia - Dairy SA - Dairy Australia
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