IrrigationNZ is warning Canterbury irrigators to employ all the methods available to stretch out water volumes as the El Nino weather pattern starts to bite home.
“Now is an ideal time for farmers to assess their consents, particularly their seasonal allocation component, to work out how much is remaining. With about half the season left, and most irrigators in Canterbury having irrigated since September, understanding your seasonal allocation volume is critical. Having a weekly irrigation schedule based on your remaining volume is a great place to start making those hard irrigation decisions from,” says IrrigationNZ Project Manager Steven Breneger.
Rainfall across Canterbury in the week prior to Christmas has eased the short term pressure of many farmers in the region. But the forecast, post-Christmas, is still a hot, dry finish to the season – a classic El Nino weather pattern, says Mr Breneger. “This is going to place renewed pressure on irrigation consents in the new year.”
Early messaging from IrrigationNZ this season was around understanding what irrigation systems were doing on the ground. Bucket tests, scheduling irrigation to soil types, and minimising watering tracks and roads were simple measures to ensure irrigation efficiency.
“Now, the emphasis needs to moves to more stringent management options that look at performance measures across the farm and look to maximise both irrigation effectiveness and overall farm production performance,” says Mr Breneger.
IrrigationNZ’s top four tips to stretch out water volumes.
Steven Breneger, IrrigationNZ Project Manager, Ph (027) 688 1299.
IrrigationNZ is the national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry. Its mission is to promote excellence in irrigation throughout New Zealand. IrrigationNZ launched its SMART Irrigation Programme in April 2014. SMART stands for Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible and Trusted Irrigation.
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