Under canopy micro-sprinklers or drippers are the most common irrigation systems for orchard production in Northern Victoria.
Sub-surface drip irrigation is also commonly used for vegetable and tomato productions systems.
There are many aspects to horticultural irrigation development and upgrades that need to be considered. Undertaking a Whole Farm Plan will ensure that none of these are overlooked as part of your decision making.
An overview of some of these considerations is summarised below:
The soil type will influence what type of crop is best suited and will inform the detailed design for an irrigation system to meet crop water requirements, infiltration rates, and irrigation cycle and schedule.
The type of crop and sometimes the variety will influence the spacing from ‘line to line’ and also between emitters.
Another topic to consider is whether frost protection in winter or cooling in summer is likely to be required or desired?
Is a level of automation required?
The quality of the water will influence the amount of filtration required before the water enters the irrigation system. Dirty or cloudy water can quickly block up fine emitters.
Is the water source reliable or will you need to incorporate a storage dam for example?
Other crop requirements
Fertigation is the term used to describe incorporating fertiliser and nutrients in the irrigation water. The advantage of this is that there is less wastage with fertiliser application as it is delivered directly and closely to the plant roots, rather than generally distributed.
Pumps and motors
There are a number of aspects of pump and motor selection to be considered. These include: energy source to be used (diesel, electric or solar powered motors); pump efficiency (how much power is required to deliver a megalitre of water; and is the proposed system capable of delivering the volume of water?
For further information contact:
Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Officers
Tatura – (03) 5833 5222
Echuca – (03) 5482 1922
Kerang – (03) 5473 0180