The Agronomy Network met for the second time in Echuca on Friday 9th December to hear about and discuss past and current agronomic and irrigation research occurring in our region.
The group heard from Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Scientists, Kevin Kelly and Mike Morris, on current and past research in the agronomic and irrigation hydrology space. Also on the agenda was an introduction to the Forage Value Index project by Ron Prestige from Dairy Australia. The session finished with a question and answer session with University of Southern Queensland Researcher, Geoff Cockfield, who was keen to understand the agronomists' perspective on what sustained and improved feedbase performance in the dairy industry might look like for our region. Geoff's work is part of a wider research project across Victoria funded by the Gardiner Foundation.
See below for a summary of the key messages from the day. The full presentations can be accessed here:
They don’t need to be deep - design them to your flow rate. The faster your flow the deeper they can be. With 10 ML flows on Tim’s bay they were only a few inches deep. If you have faster flow, experiment with a greater depth.
Keep them clean all year round. They need to be clean to work effectively and in winter to get benefits as well. When cleaning them out don’t make them deeper - just buzz out the grass.
Get the spacing of the spinner cuts right. Paul’s rule of thumb is for the two outer spinner cuts in each bay to be 7 m in from each check bank. Then evenly space the remaining spinner cuts at 10 to 14 m apart, depending on the bay width.
Start the spinner cuts 10 to 15 m from the top of the bay to allow water to spread across the bay before reaching them.
Run the spinner cuts all way down the bay to the bottom drain
Keep practicing and have patience - work out what works best for you.
They are not just to fix dodgy bays. They will really improve...
Picture: Mike Morris, DEDJTR irrrigation researcher speaking about spinner cuts with the Humphris PIT team.
They can be both modelled using new research that the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) are using to improve the precision of border check irrigation.
The Humphris PIT heard about this and the importance of good drainage at the second meeting for the Accelerating Change program. At the farm of Tim and Lyndal Humphris, of Tongala, discussion focused on the use of spinner cuts and how they can reduce the duration of transient waterlogging.
Now spinner cuts may not be the first thing that comes to mind in a project focusing on new technology! They have been around for a long time and have been tried and discarded by many farmers in the region, including Tim and Lyndal. However upgrading of infrastructure meaning faster flows on farm and new science which validates the benefits of them are bringing them back into focus. Paul Price, a member o...