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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

Cultivation and Irrigation

Different methods and intensities of cultivation, and levels and timings of irrigation, can have a big influence on the economic returns and environmental impacts of crops. FAR research projects are investigating the costs and benefits associated with various cultivation techniques and also, looking to identify optimal irrigation rates and timings for a range of crops


2016 Bucket testing in Ashburton District

Irrigation efficiency is a major theme of farm environment plans, but how do you know if your irrigation system is efficient? One cheap and simple method of determining whether your irrigators are distributing water evenly is the bucket test.

Environment Canterbury, with support from FAR and other industry groups, irrigation schemes and water user groups; have set up a programme to support farmers in the Ashburton district with their irrigation management. There is a cost of $100.00+gst for up to two sprinkler systems per farm.

2016 Ashburton bucket testing information

E-mail FAR to register for bucket testing

FAR arable site cultivation trial

A trial was established in 2003 to study how different intensities of soil cultivation effect the yield and economic performance of crops in rotation and the agronomy of those crops.

Maximising the value of irrigation

FAR is involved in this six year MBIE-funded research programme where researchers are working closely with industry to help integrate the next generation of irrigation management tools for cropping, horticultural, and pastoral farms.

For more information, please see page 15 of the following publication:

From the Ground Up, Issue 80

For more information, please see page 12 of the following publication:

From the Ground Up, Issue 81

Estimating the economic return on irrigation

To use FAR's Irrigation Costing Calculation Tool simply add expected crops prices and yields into the spread sheet, along with irrigation costs/mm/ha for your farm and the relative yield drop figures, which are supplied. The tool will automatically calculate the net value of irrigation applied/ha for different crops, helping you prioritise irrigation decisions when water supply may be limited.

Click here to see an example of how the tool works. In the example shown, the net value of irrigation applied/ha suggests that if you had to choose between irrigating a ryegrass seed crop or a wheat crop, you would get a great economic return by putting the water on the wheat.

Click here for a link to FAR's Irrigation Costing Calculation Tool