Tech has flow-on effects

IPAD IRRIGATION: Apps which help farmers monitor their irrigation improve water efficiency by allowing producers to respond rapidly to changing conditions on the ground.

IPAD IRRIGATION: Apps which help farmers monitor their irrigation improve water efficiency by allowing producers to respond rapidly to changing conditions on the ground.

As water has become a scarce commodity in drought-stricken areas of the country, farmers are considering ways to reduce their water usage.

QDO is working with its members on several water projects including the Rural Water Usage Efficiency Scheme (RWUE).

For anyone considering applying for the RWUE scheme or, any farmer simply needing to improve water efficiencies, here are five irrigation tools that can save water.

Low-Pressure Irrigation Systems Low pressure irrigation is one of the most efficient methods for delivering water to large areas with minimal water waste. Examples of low-pressure irrigation systems; centre pivot, lateral mover and solid set. Although they have a high initial cost, there are a number of advantages including reduction of energy usage, reduction in water usage, that will help payback the system.

Water Flow Meters Water flow meters can accurately measure how much water is being used to irrigate so that water use can be closely managed. Using the flow rate from the flow meter, the volume of water used in an irrigation run can be calculated. Monitoring flow rate can also help farmers discover problems with the irrigation system such as costly leaks and is one of the easiest and cost-effective irrigation tools to implement.

Soil Sensors Measuring soil moisture can help farmers determine how much water is necessary to keep up with crop demands. Soil sensors can help farmers understand the condition of roots to suggest when it is time to irrigate, when the plants are stressed and need watering to prevent wasting water, developing a shallow root pattern or water absorption depth.

Irrigation Management Mobile Apps Mobile apps that can assist farmers with irrigation management are continuously improving. They allow farmers to control and monitor irrigation equipment from their iPhone or Android device and to quickly adjust their irrigation based on changing conditions.

Drones Thermal cameras on drones can be used to detect leaks, uneven irrigation patterns and determine if crops are getting too much or not enough water.

EOI and Application Dates extended As some farmers missed the initial Expressions of Interest (EOI) deadline, QDO has extended the EOI period until Friday November 15 and extended the deadline for applications with completed paperwork until Friday November 29.

The program provides eligible dairy and fodder producers to apply for financial assistance to improve irrigation to increase water efficiency.

Grants are calculated at 10 per cent of value of capital cost excluding pump costs for eligible systems - up to a combined maximum of $10,000 ex GST.

Please note that pump costs are not included.

If you are unsure as to whether your planned system is eligible for a RWUE grant, please contact QDO on 3236 2955.