Testing for irrigation efficiency

by Kent Caddick

IrrigationNZ will be heading out to Selwyn farms over the summer testing irrigation systems and helping farmers improve the efficiency of their irrigation.

Last summer, in partnership with Environment Canterbury, IrrigationNZ developed a new testing programme which saw 131 Ashburton farms with irrigation have their systems tested to see how they were performing.

Farmers and farm staff were also interviewed to find out how they manage their irrigation systems.

IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis said over the next three months they will be testing irrigation on around 100 farms in the Selwyn district.

“We’ll look at how farmers are operating irrigation equipment, whether water is applied evenly, how irrigation is scheduled and the maintenance carried out on equipment as well as the monitoring of soil moisture and run-off.

“Once the testing has been completed, farmers receive their results and have the opportunity to attend a drop-in session.

“This provides them with a complete picture of how well their irrigation system is operating and also how they are managing it. Farmers are offered advice on what they can do to improve their irrigation performance,” Mr Curtis said.

The testing in Ashburton was carried out on dairy, sheep and beef, arable and deer farms and covered a range of irrigation equipment including centre pivots and travelling irrigators.

Selwyn farmers and irrigators who would like to be part of the irrigation efficiency project please go to irrigationnz.co.nz/events.