Llanreath Agricultural Enterprises, owned by Mackenzie and Robin Craig, has won the irrigation district water user category in the Victorian Rural Water Awards in Australia for the outstanding results achieved with FarmConnect.

The awards recognize farmers who adopt practices that deliver water savings or greater productivity. The Craigs have achieved both on their farm by automating their irrigation with FarmConnect.

The Craigs run an 2000 acre mixed grain and prime lamb enterprise in northern Victoria, Australia.  In 2011 they commenced upgrading and automating 340 acres of surface irrigated area using FarmConnect. The FarmConnect technology installed includes:

• Sensors which monitor soil moisture to indicate optimal time to irrigate

• Remotely controlled automated field devices to precisely manage water application

• A smart meter connected to their farm turnout which enables them to accurately calculate the volume of water applied

• Cloud-based FarmConnect software which enables the system to be managed from their computer and smartphones

The smart meter, connected to their turnout, provides real-time flow information to the FarmConnect software, so the Craigs can calculate the precise flow rate and volume of water applied to each bay and review irrigation performance.

Crucially, they can link water inputs directly to outputs, including calculating tonnage produced per gallon of water applied. They are also able to generate indexes for benchmarking and comparison from season to 
season.

In the 2013-14 season the Craigs achieved outstanding improvements in water use efficiency, yield and labor use. Compared with the season before, the Craigs reduced water use by 260 acre feet, extended the interval between irrigating from 2 to 3 weeks and increased sheep stocking rates by 20%.

The Craigs have also experienced a significant reduction in stress and sleep deprivation as a result of automating.

The performance of the enterprise has been assessed by a team from the University of Southern Queensland led by Professor Rod Smith. Professor Smith said the results of the research conducted by the university showed that the Craigs were outstanding irrigators.

“For the irrigations evaluated they consistently achieved application efficiencies of between 90% and 100% (and averaging 95%). This means that 95% of the water supplied to the farm is added to the soil root zone and is available for use by the crop. Efficiencies of this magnitude are achieved by very few,” Professor Smith said.

Llanreath Agricultural Enterprises, owned by Mackenzie and Robin Craig, has won the irrigation district water user category in the Victorian Rural Water Awards in Australia for the outstanding results achieved with FarmConnect.

The awards recognise farmers who adopt practices that deliver water savings or greater productivity. The Craigs have achieved both on their farm by automating their irrigation with FarmConnect.

The Craigs run an 800 hectare mixed grain and prime lamb enterprise in Nathalia, Northern Victoria.  In 2011 they commenced upgrading and automating 138 hectares of surface irrigated area using FarmConnect. The FarmConnect technology installed includes:

• Sensors which monitor soil moisture to indicate optimal time to irrigate

• Remotely controlled automated field devices to precisely manage water application

• A smart meter connected to their farm service point which enables them to accurately calculate the volume of water applied

• Cloud-based FarmConnect software which enables the system to be managed from their computer and smartphones

The smart meter, connected to their water authority service point, provides real-time flow information to the FarmConnect software, so the Craigs can calculate the precise flow rate and volume of water applied to each bay and review irrigation performance.

Crucially, they can link water inputs directly to outputs, including calculating tonnage produced per litre of water applied. They are also able to generate indexes for benchmarking and comparison from season to ?season.

In the 2013-14 season the Craigs achieved outstanding improvements in water use efficiency, yield and labour use. Compared with the season before, the Craigs reduced water use by 320 million litres, extended the interval between irrigating from 2 to 3 weeks and increased sheep stocking rates by 20%.

The Craigs have also experienced a significant reduction in stress and sleep deprivation as a result of automating.

The performance of the enterprise has been assessed by a team from the University of Southern Queensland led by Professor Rod Smith. Professor Smith said the results of the research conducted by the university showed that the Craigs were outstanding irrigators.

“For the irrigations evaluated they consistently achieved application efficiencies of between 90% and 100% (and averaging 95%). This means that 95% of the water supplied to the farm is added to the soil root zone and is available for use by the crop. Efficiencies of this magnitude are achieved by very few,” Professor Smith said.