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A review of Centre Pivot and Lateral Move installations in the Australian Cotton Industry P Smith, J Foley, S Priest, S Bray, J Montgomery, D Wigginton,

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Presentation on theme: "A review of Centre Pivot and Lateral Move installations in the Australian Cotton Industry P Smith, J Foley, S Priest, S Bray, J Montgomery, D Wigginton,"— Presentation transcript:

1 A review of Centre Pivot and Lateral Move installations in the Australian Cotton Industry P Smith, J Foley, S Priest, S Bray, J Montgomery, D Wigginton, J Schultz, R Van Niekerk Review of CPLM installations in the Aust cotton industry – P Smith – IAL conference 2014

2 Introduction  Australian cotton growers aim to maximise profitability per ML  2001 – review of CPLM in the cotton industry (Foley & Raine)  Since then CPLM uptake increased  Australian Government water reforms and funding programs stimulated investment  Healthy Headwaters (Qld) funded repeat study in QMDB in 2011  CRDC funded same in for NSW cotton regions  Surveys combined to examine changes in design, operation and management since 2001  Reporting some results today – full report to be published

3 Survey design and methodology  Format of survey was based on 2001  Designed as face-to-face interview, conducted on-farm  58 selected cotton & grains irrigators interviewed from Southern Qld to Central/Southern NSW  Total 127 CPLM systems irrigating 13,969 ha  42% of area CP, 58% LM

4 Survey format  Questions grouped under headings: –CPLM dimensions and configuration –pump and water supply –operation management and problems –sprinkler packages –tyres and wheels –farming system –crop water requirements –application strategies –system performance and productivity –runoff management –agronomic considerations –maintenance –purchase decision making

5 Results and discussion Number and area of CPLM systems  % are centre pivots compared to 76% in 2001  proportion of area covered by centre pivots has declined by roughly the same percentage  average area under individual systems has reduced for both centre pivots and lateral moves Centre Pivot Lateral Move Number of systems57 (76%)18 (24%) Total Area (ha)2915 (55%)2385 (45%) Mean Area (ha)~70~165 Centre Pivot Lateral Move Number of systems121 (66%)63 (34%) Total Area (ha)5901 (42%)8068 (58%) Mean Area (ha)

6 Results and discussion Yield and Water applied  Water applied by CPLM approx 30% less than furrow irrigation  Yields similar Irrigation Water Use Index (IWUI)

7 Results and discussion Adoption drivers  Main factors labour saving (74%), water saving (62%)  Compared to the 2001, labour saving replaced water saving as main driver  Automation declined a lot: 58% 2001, 24%

8 Results and discussion Labour requirement  : –CP 47% thought labour less than ¼ of furrow –LM 56% thought labour ¼ to ½ of furrow  2001: –CP 69% thought labour less than ¼ of furrow –LM 53% thought labour ¼ to ½ of furrow  : 59% considered higher skill required for CPLM

9 Results and discussion System capacity  System capacity is important for CPLM design – affects ability to meet crop water requirements  Irrigators were asked for the System Capacity of their CPLM  Check: also calculated from pump flow rate and area irrigated (provided by irrigators)

10 Results and discussion  Design system capacity range 4–32 mm/day  78% CP operators within 1 mm/day of calculated value  46% LM operators more than 2 mm/day from calculated value – probably due to variable area Difference between stated and calculated Design system capacity (Fig. A: CP, Fig. B: LM)

11 Results and discussion System capacity  Managed system capacity allows for machine downtime and application losses  Better indicator than Design system capacity

12 Results and discussion  20% of CPLM more than 110% of peak ET (18% 2001)  25% between 90% and 110% of peak ET (36% 2001)  55% below 90% of peak ET Designed system capacities (left) and Managed system capacities (right) expressed as % of average Peak January ET

13 Results and discussion System capacity  59% of Design system capacities more than 110% of peak ET (26% 2001) –irrigators are increasingly understanding the importance of adequate system capacity for meeting crop water needs  However, there are now a greater proportion (55%) with Managed system capacity that cannot meet peak water demand (46% 2001) – concerning!

14 Results and discussion Pressure and costs  Higher running costs of CPLM considered a disadvantage  Should have pressure no higher than necessary  Most systems have pressure regulators 15 psi or less  Commonly recommendation: supply point pressure max 15 psi above regulators ie. Max supply point 30 psi

15 Results and discussion  52% operating above 30 psi – % – room for more improvement  None operating above 50 psi – 13% in 2001

16 Results and discussion Pressure and costs  Supply point pressure average 19 psi >regulator, range 0–40 psi  21% operating at >30 psi pressure difference  79% have potential to save energy costs

17 Results and discussion  Pressure regulators require min 5 psi above rated pressure to operate properly – 4 systems not operating properly  4 systems 40 psi above regulator pressure

18 Results and discussion Emitter Systems  Emitter systems changed a lot between 2001 and –LEPA systems reduced 48% to 19% –moving plate sprinklers increased 4% to 54%  May be due to: –slight differences in study participants – more grain in –previous concerns about sprinklers on cotton not eventuating (pollination effects, lint quality)  Change consistent with 2001 report – recommended performance be improved by converting from static to moving plate  Pressure regulators used more widely – 95% v. 58% in 2001

19 Results and discussion Power Supply and Control Systems  Proportion of diesel powered machines increased – 79% v 65% in 2001  Remaining 21% used mains power – all CP  90% of machines surveyed were electric drives, 10% hydraulic  CP: 53% electric drive powered by diesel generator, 42% electric drive powered from mains, 5% hydraulic drive powered by diesel motor  LM: 71% electric drive powered by diesel generator, 29% hydraulic drive powered by diesel motor  Automatic control use increased – 40% v 10% in 2001 –Still low considering potential reduction in labour and increased flexibility

20 Results and discussion Wheel Rutting and Bogging  64% experienced problems with wheel ruts or bogging – 79% in 2001  Still a prevalent issue – but mostly minor problems overcome within first few seasons  59% of respondents have or will modify their irrigation strategy or sprinkler set up to help overcome this – most used ‘boombacks’ and half-throw sprinklers around the towers  Many irrigators commented on need to check tyre pressures and use of different tyre configurations to alleviate bogging

21 Results and discussion Scheduling  Capacitance probes are the tool most commonly used  2001: generally used one scheduling tool  : used combination of tools – both for furrow and CPLM  CPLM apply less water more often – so operators more conscious of water use under these

22 Results and discussion  Depth per CPLM irrigation range 5–50 mm, median 24 mm –52% applied 15–30 mm (33% in 2001) –11% fewer growers applied 15 mm or less –7% fewer applied more than 45 mm Depth applied per pass (Fig. A , Fig. B 2001)

23 Results and discussion Fertiliser usage Fig. A: Change in total seasonal fertiliser use with CPLM fertigation ( ) Fig. B: Change in pre-season fertiliser use with CPLM fertigation ( )

24 Results and discussion Capital cost of CPLM systems  Range $610 to $6,000 per hectare, median $2,570 per hectare (lowest cost included second-hand equipment)  2001: $1,250 to 2,500 per hectare  70% between $1500 and $3500 per hectare –Large range due to individual site requirements – cost of machine, install machine, pumps, earthworks, electrical works, system capacity, currency exchange rates

25 Results and discussion Capital cost of CPLM systems  Generally, costs decrease as irrigated area increases  Stronger for LM than for CP  CP: cost for irrigating same area varies by multiple of six  Engage an independent expert to evaluate designs and provide advice!

26 Results and discussion  38% use flow meters to monitor changes or problems in delivery  62% visually assessed emitters  Only 25% had measured uniformity – range 50% to 100% (90% is benchmark) System Performance  IWUI – discussed earlier  93% of irrigators surveyed had flow meters or pressure gauges for system control  79% used pressure points as an indicator of problems

27 Thank you!


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