The dairy, cotton, sugar, grain and rice sectors have partnered up to share the benefits of new water efficiency technologies.
More than half of the nations dairyfarmers use irrigation, with the second phase of the Smarter Irrigation for Profit expecting to increase farmer profits by $20,000 to $40,000 each year.
As part of its contribution to the project, the dairy industry has established 17 research and learning sites in dairy regions in SA, WA, Vic, Tas and NSW, including on the subtropical border area near Qld.
Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said that the collaboration of five Rural Research and Development Corporations, five universities and four governmental organisations underlined the importance of the project for Australian agriculture.
"Smarter Irrigation for Profit is one of Australian agriculture's major collaborative investments - it will be a game changer for many dairyfarmers who rely on irrigation," he said.
"Efficient water use is vital to sustain dairy farming in one of the most variable climates on earth."
DA is investing $1.7 million in the project, part of an overall dairy investment worth $7.7m made possible by the support of Agriculture Vic, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and University of Southern Qld.
The total investment by all partners in the Smarter Irrigation for Profit project is $22m, maximising the combined funding of levy paying farmers.
Farm Profit and Capability group manager Peter Johnson said DA's participation in the project's first phase had shown big opportunities for dairyfarmers to reduce costs by producing more feed from the same amount of water or less through better timing and scheduling of irrigation.
"The technologies we are trialling through our investment in Smarter Irrigation for Profit can really help farmers bottom lines, by reducing water and energy use and costs, maximising pasture growth, reducing labour intensity through automation and through improved utilisation of data," he said.
"The sites involving local farms aim to increase farm profit for 500 dairyfarmers through adoption of technologies and practices that improve water productivity and irrigation performance.
"This knowledge can then be made available to farmers across the country."
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Smarter Irrigation for Profit phase II is supported by funding from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.
It is led by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation in partnership with DA, GRDC, AgriFutures Australia, Sugar Research Australia and nine research organisations.
It builds on the project's successful first phase launched in 2015.
- Details: dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/land-water-carbon/water-and-irrigation/smarter-irrigation-for-profit
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