9 August 2018, 12:00AM
As a child growing up on irrigated farmland in Zimbabwe, Ivan Truscott was fascinated by water.

He’d witness the magic-like transformation it would make to his family’s 7500 acre property, where they mostly farmed irrigated crops and beef cattle.

Now living in Australia, Ivan works with water.

As the Ruralco Group’s Irrigation Business Development Manager for NSW, Ivan has seen the impacts the state-wide drought has had on farmers. It’s made him even more passionate to help people become more water efficient.

“When I came to Australia I saw a lot of flood irrigation which to me seemed as an excessive use of water for such a dry continent,” says Ivan.

“I felt there were much better ways of making water go further.”

Ruralco - which oversees all Total Eden stores as well as TEAM Irrigation in Dubbo and Rutherford, Pivot Irrigation and Pumping Supplies and Ruralco Water Brokers - has plans to double its irrigation business in Australia.

Ivan’s role is to listen to the needs of farmers and to help Ruralco identify new locations for their irrigation centres.

“Ruralco believes the future is water,” says Ivan.

“We all know it’s a dry continent and water is becoming more expensive, so farmers are spending more on infrastructure because they can see it is money well spent.

“Water will only become harder to come by and droughts will become more severe, so saving water and using it wisely will become paramount.”

Ivan moved to Australia in 2001 when political turmoil in his homeland forced his family off the farm – and out of their country.

A farmer in Central Western NSW heard about their plight and offered to sponsor Ivan, his wife Marion and their children to come to Australia to work on his cotton farm at Trangie.

They fell in love with Australia and decided to stay, working on several different properties over the next decade before moving into the irrigation sector.

With labour often hard to find in Australia, Ivan says overhead irrigation is a practical solution – not just because of how efficient it is for water usage, but also because it doesn’t require a lot of labour to operate and maintain.

He says things have changed significantly since the early irrigators of the late 1990s when they were imported from Europe and America.

“They weren’t designed for Australian conditions and just couldn’t deliver the volumes of water Australian farmers needed, so the results weren’t what they had been expecting,” says Ivan.

“But things have changed significantly since then and the increase in yields from irrigation can be massive.

“Water is a finite resource. It pays to invest in infrastructure to apply water efficiently.”

The Ruralco Water Group in NSW includes all Total Eden stores, TEAM Irrigation Dubbo and Rutherford, Pivot Irrigation and Pumping Supplies, plus Ruralco Water Brokers.

Contact Ivan Truscott on 0436351239