Optimising farm scale returns from irrigated grains: maximising dollar return per megalitre of water
Given a limited availability of land, water for irrigation, crop requirements and grain prices, how do you choose which crop should be irrigated?
How much irrigation water should be applied, and on what area of land to maximise profits and minimise risks?
How can irrigation be applied over the whole-farm, accounting for variation in crop types and irrigation infrastructure across and between paddocks?
How does the type of irrigation system i.e. overhead laterals, pivots, flood irrigation, etc, affect crop gross margins and whole-farm profitability?
What is the risk or likelihood that the projected outcome will occur?
These questions are being addressed in a GRDC-funded project through co-development of a calculator (decision-support tool) called ‘WaterCan Profit’ for irrigation farmers and consultants.
WaterCan Profit has been built through discussions with growers in the Irrigation Groups and using results from the Research Trials conducted in the Optimising Irrigated Grains Initiative.
WaterCan Profit is a farmer-designed phone and web app that helps users identify land areas and water allocations to a range of irrigated and rainfed grain crops that maximise farm profits and minimise risks. The calculator also allows users to contrast long-term investment in irrigation infrastructure (e.g. centre pivot or flood-based irrigation).
Using WaterCan Profit
As water price increases, how does the profitability of different crops compare?
Given a fixed amount of irrigation water and variable grain and water prices, crop rotations, irrigation infrastructure and seasonal climatic outlook, what is the most profitable crop areas and irrigation rates across the whole farm?
How to contrast investments in alternative irrigation infrastructure, machinery and equipment using WaterCan Profit. The calculator outputs profitability (net present value), investment worth, payback time and internal rate of return.
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Use WaterCan Profit
to run scenarios on your own farm businesses.
The optimising irrigated grains projects are part of the GRDC investment in ICF1906-002RTX: Facilitated action learning groups to support profitable irrigated farming systems in the northern and southern regions, FAR1906-003RTX: Development and validation of soil amelioration and agronomic practices to realise the genetic potential of grain crops grown under a high yield potential, irrigated environment in the northern and southern regions and UOT1906-002RTX: Optimising farm scale returns from irrigated grains: maximising dollar return per megalitre of water.