Weekly Irrigation Requirements – Northern Victoria




Thursday 14 February 2019

Weekly Irrigation Requirement$ Summary – Driving Water Productivity

This update provides ‘reference evapotranspiration’ (ETo) information to assist with improved irrigation scheduling for top yields and high water productivity.


  • The interactive scheduling tool helps you determine the most productive timing for the next irrigation for your unique circumstances. It uses the same ETo information in the tables below and operates with Microsoft Excel on mobile devices and desktop computers.
  • It can be found HERE


Keeping an eye on plant water requirements

  • Daily ETo rates over the past week have been very mild compared to the January highs and have remained below the February average (6.0mm/day) at Kyabram
  • ETo rates are forecast to increase marginally over the next 7 days, with the highest daily ETo occurring on Sunday

Dry Season Workshops

  • AgVic and Plan2Farm are running Dry Season Workshops at Kerang, Yarrawalla, Stanhope and Congupna on 21 and 22 February
  • The workshops are designed to help participants with tactical decision making related to the dry season and the upcoming autumn, winter and spring
  • The workshops are based on a series of earlier workshops delivered in September 2018, and will provide the latest information on seasonal and commodity outlooks, and discuss irrigation, cropping and forage options
  • There will be some top speakers
  • Visit the IrrigatingAgriculture web site for more details


  • The soil temperature as measured by a capacitance probe at 9am this morning (Thursday 14 Feb) under irrigated pasture at 10cm depth at Lancaster was 17oC, 5oC cooler than this time last week (7 Feb)
  • This time last year (14 Feb 2018), the soil temperature was 20oC

Last Week’s Reference Evapotranspiration+ – Pasture Irrigation Requirement$

Weekly Totals –  Thurs 7 Feb to Wed 13 Feb, 2019

Location ETo+





ETo – R

(mm irrigation required) 

Dairy x pasture crop coefficient Average^ ETo
 (mm /DAY)
Required@ Surface Irrigation Interval (days) Spray> irrigators needed to apply (mm)
Deniliquin* 46 23 23 1 6.5 8 23
Kyabram* 35 19 16 1 5.0 10 16
Tatura* 38 5 33 1 5.4 9 33
Kerang# 39 8 31 1 5.5 8 31
Echuca# 36 11 25 1 5.1 9 25
Yarrawalla# 36 17 19 1 5.1 9 19
Numurkah# 35 12 23 1 5.0 9 23

Tip:  To convert mm to megalitres /ha, divide by 100.  Eg. 50mm = 0.5ML /ha

The “required surface irrigation interval” shown in these tables is calculated only using cumulative ETo, and needs to be considered in conjunction with rainfall on your farm.  For example, this time of the year (February) for each 6mm of effective rain on your property, typically an extra day can be added to the “required surface irrigation interval.”

Next Weeks Forecast Reference Evapotranspiration – Pasture Irrigation Requirement$¥

Weekly Totals –  Thurs 14 Feb to Wed 20 Feb, 2019

Location ETo





ETo – R

(mm irrigation required)

Average ETo
(mm /DAY)
Required Surface Irrigation Interval (Days) > Spray irrigators will need to apply (mm)
Deniliquin 49 0 49 7.0 8 49
Kyabram 46 0 46 6.6 8 46
Tatura 44 0 44 6.3 8 44
Kerang 52 0 52 7.4 7 52
Echuca 49 0 49 6.9 8 49
Yarrawalla 50 0 50 7.1 8 50
Numurkah 47 0 47 6.6 8 47


Daily ETo and rainfall – last week & next week


You can follow on Twitter and Facebook or to receive this weekly post as a weekly email contact  robert.oconnor@ecodev.vic.gov.au


For more detail about using evapotranspiration data refer to this Agriculture Victoria fact sheet “What is evapotranspiration and how do I use it to schedule irrigations” or this scientific paper.

The intention of this service is not for this information to be used in isolation when making decisions about irrigation timing.  ETo data provides another handy tool in your irrigation ‘tool box’ and needs to be used in conjunction with other preferred scheduling methods and updated weather information.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback related to this service please don’t hesitate to contact me, Rob O’Connor at robert.oconnor@ecodev.vic.gov.au

irriSAT (Ctrl click) is a free Australian web based irrigation scheduling tool that uses satellite ‘vision’ to tailor irrigation scheduling for your paddocks and crops.


+ Reference evapotranspiration (“ETo”).  Refers to the evapotranspiration from an actively growing, well-watered, grass stand 120mm in height.

* ETo and rainfall data sourced from the  Bureau of Meteorology

# ETo and rainfall data sourced from the Queensland government’s SILO web site based on climate data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology.  This is “triangulated” data – based on calculations and measurements from the closest weather stations which are not on-site.  Comment: SILO ETo data generally appears to be slightly lower than BOM ETo data.

~Rainfall R.”  Where a rainfall event is less than 2mm it is unlikely to be listed.  Any rain in excess of that which fills the soil profile (or reduces ‘cumulative ETo-R’ back below the estimated RAW) also needs to be disregarded in terms of plant available moisture.  Because rainfall can vary over short distances, irrigators are encouraged to collect and use their own rainfall figures for their farm.

x  “Dairy pasture crop coefficient.”  For crops other than pasture refer to this fact sheet for discussion of an appropriate crop coefficient “What is evapotranspiration and how do I use it to schedule irrigations?”

^ The “Average (daily) ETo” is simply calculated by dividing the total weekly cumulative ETo by 7 days.
@ To calculate the “Required surface irrigation interval” it is assumed there is 40mm of ‘readily available water’ in the pasture root zone.  eg.  Required surface interval =  40mm  ÷  average (daily) ETo, plus 2 days to allow for excess water to drain away following a surface irrigation event.  (Where SILO ETo data is used – Kerang, Echuca, Yarrawalla and Numurkah, 1day is added rather than 2 days because SILO ETo figures are appearing to be slightly lower than BOM ETo figures.)
> Spray irrigators need/ed to apply.”  This figure is based only on evapotranspiration minus rainfall (“ETo – R”) and assumes a good spray uniformity and application efficiency.  If a spray irrigation system has compromised spray uniformity or application efficiency, then more water will need to be applied to best meet plant needs.   Typically with pressurised irrigation systems, irrigations will be applied more regularly than once per week in summer to optimise plant growth.

¥Next weeks forecast reference evapotranspiration – pasture irrigation requirement.”  These figures are sourced from the BOM.  Unfortunately this is a ‘fee for service’ arrangement and the forecast ETo figures are not publically available.


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