Irrigation is the artificial application of water to land for the purpose of agricultural production. Effective irrigation will influence the entire growth process from seedbed preparation, germination, root growth, nutrient utilisation, plant growth and regrowth, yield and quality.
The key to maximising irrigation efforts is uniformity. The producer has a lot of control over how much water to supply and when to apply it but the irrigation system determines uniformity. Deciding which irrigation systems is best for your operation requires a knowledge of equipment, system design, plant species, growth stage, root structure, soil composition, and land formation.
Irrigation systems should encourage plant growth while minimising salt imbalances, leaf burns, soil erosion, and water loss. Losses of water will occur due to evaporation, wind drift, run-off and water (and nutrients) sinking deep below the root zone.
The values of irrigating are many and varied. Irrigation can allow primary producers,
- to grow more and higher quality pastures and crops
- to have more flexibility in their systems/operations
- to lengthen the growing season
- to have ‘insurance’ against seasonal variability and drought
There is a lot of information out there regarding system types, system designs, system performance and the use technology within irrigation for irrigation scheduling, automation and water management.
For further information you can visit the Agriculture Victoria website via the link below or you can speak to an Irrigation Extension officer in your closest Agriculture Victoria office in Tatura, Echuca, Kerang, Rutherglen, Maffra or Irymple.