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Farm Walk highlights benefits of irrigation upgrades

A free farm walk showcasing improved border check irrigation technology will be held at Lancaster on Thursday May 12.

The property belongs to dairy farmers Paul and Kerrie Price who have completed 80-hectares of irrigation upgrades and over a four year period have more than doubled pasture consumption from 6.4 tonne/hectare to 15 tonne/hectare.

Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Officer Rob O’Connor said the main focus of the farm walk would be an overview of the irrigation upgrades, including the computer-based automatic irrigation system.

“People will be able to inspect the much improved farm irrigation layout and discuss the new irrigation system with the host farmers,” he said.

Mr Price said the upgrades helped save time and resources as well as boosting productivity.

“It used to take my Dad two weeks to irrigate the whole farm,” Mr Price said. “Due to the fluctuation in the channel system, it took 16-18 hours to irrigate one bay; now it’s a breeze – it takes one hour to three hours per bay. In the past we could not go anywhere, now we can get involved in kids’ activities.” 

The works on the Prices’ farm were undertaken with funding support from the Farm Water Program – a consortium of well-established industry and agency partners – led by the Goulburn Broken CMA.

Goulburn Broken CMA’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Norman said the farm walk would also include an update on the Farm Water Program.

“The next call for Farm Water Program funding is expected very soon,” Mr Norman said. “This event will highlight the long-term benefits gained from modernising on-farm irrigation through such funding. For the irrigator, the increased water efficiency, productivity gains and time saved are the real highlight. For the consortium, the added bonus is that the water saved through these works is valuable to both the farmer and the environment.” 

Additional discussions on the day will include tips on ‘making irrigation pay in a dairy farm system’ (from an experienced farm consultant); a benefit-cost analysis of the irrigation upgrade; investment scenarios using different water prices; as well as discussion about the social and non-financial impacts through upgrades.

The farm walk aims to help irrigators with decision-making about upgrading their own irrigation system, using water more productively and linking in with government and private irrigation services.

  • What: Free Farm Walk (includes lunch) – Paul and Kerrie Price’s dairy farm
  • When: Thursday May 12, 10.30am
  • Where: 134 Graham Road, Lancaster
  • For catering purposes RSVP by Thursday May 5 to Lyndall Ash on (03) 5833 5964 or lyndall.ash@ecodev.vic.gov.au

This event is organised by Agriculture Victoria and the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Farm Water Program with support from Goulburn-Murray Water and Murray Dairy.