Irrigation Control – Its impact on cotton
The Australian cotton industry accounted for 10% of the total agricultural water used in Australia during 2004-2005 (ABS2006). Approximately 4% of irrigated cotton crops in Australia are currently irrigated by large irrigation machines (centre pivots and lateral move irrigators) and this is expected to increase to approximately 30% by 2020. The main reason for this increase is that pivot/lateral irrigation systems apply water at the right place, at the right time and the right amount.
Irrigation application in cotton crops is traditionally discharged at a constant rate for an entire field. However, not all plants in a crop may require the same amount of water due to the nature of the crop, soil type, topography, difference in variety, crop condition (eg: Disease and water stress) and meteorological conditions.
The obvious benefit to irrigating with a pivot or lateral system is that it produces less waste. You get even, precise water application across the rows, rather than have too much water at the other end of the field where flood irrigation commences. You won’t lose water to evaporation, and you can control the timing and amount of water applied. There is also less runoff, helping prevent contamination of the water table and nearby streams.
Sustainable irrigation practices is the key that has made the Australian cotton industry a global leader and a highly sought after product. Many cotton growers are adopting the latest irrigation technology, such as Growsmart control systems. Growsmart irrigation control systems under centre pivot or lateral move irrigation systems effectively manage the application of irrigation. Proper irrigation management minimises yield loss due to crop water stress, optimizes yield per unit of water applied and promotes good management practices. The result is a greater return on investment.
Growsmart control systems successfully manage a cotton growers irrigation system, saving them time, water and labour. This technology now gives a grower the ability to manage their fields from their home computer or laptop – they can even communicate with their irrigation system on a mobile phone, landline or radio. Growsmart’s web portal provides a cotton grower with a view of every centre pivot and lets them configure their irrigation requirements and make adjustments quickly and easily. It’s easy to make sure your water applications are precise for maximum efficiency no matter where a farmer is. This technology will even send text message alerts to keep you updated on status and any potential problems. This technology will maintain historical data for future referencing on crop performance and irrigation. Cotton growers seeking to learn more about the best sustainable irrigation practices can contact TEAM Irrigation Dubbo on 6885 55220. Dealers for Growsmart control systems.