During November, Agriculture Victoria hosted a free, two-day WATERWORK Nursery Irrigation Workshop at SuniTAFE Farm, which provided participants with the latest information on nursery irrigation management.
Nursery irrigation consultant, Bill Yiasoumi, shared his expertise with thirty-three attendees including students, nursery managers and employees, and farmers.
The WATERWORK workshop has been run for many years throughout Australia to help improve irrigation efficiency and reduce quantities of water and nutrient waste. This was the first occasion it was delivered in Sunraysia.
Participants were engaged in a series of lectures, classroom and practical exercises which covered three modules on nursery irrigation systems, water supply, treatment and disinfestation, and drainage and recycling.
Highlights of day one included an outdoor practical session where attendees evaluated different sprinkler systems layouts and calculated Mean Application Rate (MAR), Coefficient of Uniformity (Cu), and Scheduling Coefficient (Sc).
Regular monitoring and auditing of nursery systems is necessary to ensure systems are operating efficiently within the limits of the design and to identify any shortcomings.
The workshop also introduced alternative irrigation options including bottom watering and drip systems for nurseries. Efficient systems are designed to water to the requirements of different plants and different stages of production to allow even growth. This limits excessive leaching and reduces the potential for on-site and off-site environment impacts.
Key components of day two included water quality assessments of water sources and leachate (drainage) from participants’ nurseries, water treatment options including filtration systems, biological and chemical treatments, designing drainage systems and recycling water within the nursery.
Participants left saying the workshop would help them to implement changes to their current practices including undertaking system evaluations, integrating ways to save water, collecting and reusing drainage water, and altering the design and layout of existing systems.
Content sources and further information
Keep an eye on the event calendar here for upcoming workshops.