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Smarter Irrigation 2: Precision automated furrow irrigation for the Australian sugar industry

Irrigation is the key driver of sugar cane production in many Queensland milling areas. Much of this land is irrigated using furrow irrigation which is a form of irrigation with high labour requirements, lower energy inputs, and often poor water use efficiency. Previous research has shown that automation of furrow irrigation improves water use efficiency and reduces labour and energy requirements.

This project will build grower understanding of the feasibility of furrow irrigation systems previously trialled successfully in the Burdekin region of Queensland, for southern sugar growing regions. It will address the issues involved in adapting existing automation technology to different water supplies and on farm water delivery infrastructure; different soils and cropping practices and different field layouts. It will also assess whether furrow automation systems can collect the necessary data to provide accurate estimates of water applied, runoff and deep drainage losses and enable better irrigation scheduling decisions.

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.

Project date

1 Jul 2019-30 Jun 2021
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Principal investigator

Malcolm Gillies

Project funded by


Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC)

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) delivers outcomes in cotton research, development and extension (RD&E) for the Australian …

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  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

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