A state-of-the-art sub-surface drip and centre pivot irrigation setup on MSF Sugar’s Jonsson farm near Mareeba is contributing to operational and increased water use efficiencies.
Growers, suppliers and agricultural science students were shown the benefits of the technology during an open day hosted by MSF Sugar, Netafim and Lindsay International.
A leader in new farming technologies MSF Sugar has returned a former failed diesel tree farm at Tabacum to profitable cane land and is using subsurface drip and centre pivot irrigation to drive agronomic advantages on the property.
The irrigation open day demonstrated that adopting new technologies can help increase the return per hectare on a grower’s investment in irrigation equipment and water.
MSF Sugar agriculture general manager Trevor Crook said the initiative for the open day was to demonstrate best management farming practices to create sustainable environmental benefits while increasing productivity and income.
“Due to the irrigation setup, the team at MSF Sugar Tablelands Farms has increased control over offsite impacts on the water ways,” Mr Cook said.
“We can control and automate irrigation cycles and have greater ability to accurately monitor water, pesticide and nutrient use at the block level.
“The system uses a delivery system known as ‘fertigation’ which delivers dissolved mineral fertilisers to the roots of crops in the field using irrigation water.
“This means efficiency in nutrient management, time and labour as well as greater control over crop performance.
“By maintaining moisture levels in the crop root zone only we can reduce significantly weed control chemicals which also reduce costs and limits potential off site impacts.
“Our goal is to increase the adoption of new and improved efficient irrigation systems on cane producing farms.”