Irrigation New Zealand

With climate predictions pointing towards a long hot dry summer, irrigators need to put in place management strategies to maximise their water allocations. Below are some tips that improve efficiency and increase the longevity of allocations.

  1. Calibrate your irrigator – Knowing exactly how much water your irrigator is applying is essential for making good irrigation decisions. A simple bucket test can accurately assess your irrigator performance. Understanding your system capacity and return interval is also critical.
  2. Minimise off target application – Look at where your irrigation is landing. Watering tracks, lane ways, and other non-productive ground wastes water. Off-target irrigation, such as watering public roads, is a prohibited in many districts. It’s also not a good look during a drought.
  3. Identify your soil types and estimate water holding capacity, field capacity and irrigation trigger points – Knowing how much water your soil can hold is key to successful irrigation scheduling. Knowing the locations of your different soil types within your irrigation area is also a powerful management tool.
  4. Schedule your irrigation – using soil moisture sensors or soil water budgets to understand when plants need irrigation and how much to apply is essential. For soil moisture sensors you need to measure and record all irrigation and rainfall events. For water budgets you also need to record daily plant water use (evapotranspiration).
  5. Adopt deficit irrigation practices – Deficit irrigation is a scheduling practice that keeps the soil water above the irrigation trigger point but does not fully recharge the soil to field capacity. This allows any rainfall during the irrigation season to be taken advantage of, minimising drainage losses from irrigation whilst maximising both your production and water allocations.
  6. Re-nozzle your irrigator – Reducing the nozzle sizes on your irrigator is an easy way to reduce application depths and tailor applications to a restricted water supply. This method will require input from your irrigation service company to avoid undermining the irrigation system.
  7. Prioritise crops or paddocks to be irrigated – By targeting irrigation to areas of higher production or higher value crops maximises your profitability during drought restrictions. Lesser production areas or lower values crops will have yield losses as these areas will suffer moisture stress.
  8. Reduce your irrigation area – Reducing your irrigation area increases the amount of water available per hectare, or helps to get the best from a restricted water supply. Targeting irrigation to more efficient irrigation systems or soil types increases water use efficiency. This may not be easily achieved under some irrigation system types, and may require so additional advice. More advanced irrigation system types, (e.g. VRI on pivots/linear), can target complex irrigation patterns within a single irrigation area.

For mid-season advice to help stretch out remaining water: click here

IrrigationNZ has a comprehensive resource library to assist irrigators to better manage their irrigation allocations more efficiently. We also offer practical irrigation training days that are highly regarded. For more information, contact IrrigationNZ on 03 341 2225.

NEWS

Irrigation investment vital for regions and for climate change adaptation

24th October 2017

A Labour and Green commitment to wind down Government loan funding for irrigation ignores irrigation’s vital role in regional growth and in climate change adaptation, says nonprofit membership body IrrigationNZ. “We note the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement has a….. Read more

Common sense prevails on water tax

20th October 2017

IrrigationNZ says that a decision by the new government not to introduce a water tax would be a victory for common sense. IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis has congratulated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the new government. Speaking to media….. Read more

Irrigation Innovation Award – entries now open

26th September 2017

Farms and businesses with new products, technologies, or practices that exemplify innovation in irrigation are being encouraged to enter IrrigationNZ’s ‘Innovation in Irrigation Award’, sponsored by Southern Wide Real Estate. The highly prestigious award promotes innovation in irrigation and has a….. Read more

Call for abstracts to benefit irrigators 

26th September 2017

IrrigationNZ is inviting short abstracts to be submitted on irrigated related topics for its 2018 Conference to be held in Central Otago, New Zealand. The conference has the theme of unlocking a golden future and IrrigationNZ is seeking to highlight new,….. Read more

Water tax ‘not about water bottlers’ – they’ll pay less than 3%

22nd September 2017

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern should not answer questions about the party’s proposed water tax by saying it’s about targeting water bottlers, says IrrigationNZ. When Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern was asked in last night’s TVNZ Leader’s Debate whether rural New Zealand….. Read more

EVENTS

Irrigation Operator and Manager Training – Darfield

November 29 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Proudly supported by our Training Partners             TRAINING FOR IRRIGATION OPERATORS AND MANAGERS – IMPROVE YOUR IRRIGATION SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE DARFIELD Where: Darfield Rec Centre When: 10am- 4pm Wednesday 29th November 2017 Cost: IrrigationNZ Members $350 +GST and Non-members $550….. Read more

New Zealand Certificate in Irrigation System Design

January 18, 2018 - January 19, 2018

Acquire the specialist skills required to design technically efficient and environmentally sustainable irrigation systems. This certificate is suitable for people with prior knowledge and experience in irrigation. You will be required to design two different irrigation systems so will need….. Read more

Irrigation Accreditation

Smart Irrigation