Farm Management

Mobile irrigators enrich DPIRD grains research trials

One of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s five new mobile irrigators, which are being used to simulate environmental conditions for a diverse range of grains research trials, at its Wongan Hills Research Facility. Image courtesy of WA DPIRD

Western Australian grains research field trials have received a boost with the acquisition of five new mobile irrigators by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The $240,000 investment will enable the department to simulate environmental conditions for a range of research scenarios.

Department field research services manager, Ian Pritchard, said the mobile machines were already in use across the department’s research facilities at Geraldton, Esperance, Merredin, Wongan Hills, Katanning and Northam.

“The equipment enables department researchers to tailor rainfall conditions to when water is needed, rather than relying on what ‘Mother Nature’ has to offer,” Mr Pritchard said.

“This control will greatly enhance the department’s grains field research capability by providing greater quality, depth and integrity in the data across a range of activities, such as time of sowing and foliar disease trials.

“Researchers are particularly excited about the ability to create trial environments for early sowing scenarios and investigations into heat stress at the end of the season, which require well watered treatments and soil water uniformity.”

The mobile irrigation units consist of a travelling irrigator with a 20 metre boom, a diesel pump set and two 30,000 litre water tanks.

Mr Pritchard said mobile machinery would enable department researchers to use the equipment across a number of sites.

“They are relatively easy to move, which means they can be used for several trials in one or two different locations throughout the year,” he said.

“We expect the mobile irrigators will also be seen on landholders’ properties, as we work closely with grower groups throughout the Grainbelt on field trials.”

Source: WA DPIRD

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