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2.1 - What is my current irrigation system?

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This step will help you to assess your present irrigation system and to consider your options for either improvements or alternatively to change to a new irrigation system.

Is the current irrigation system of your farm or site:
  • A green field site?
  • A laser graded border-check system?
  • A non-laser graded border-check system?
  • A pressurised system?

It is important to look at your farm’s features and constraints before assessing how well it is performing.
Photo: 2.1
A green field site

Definition of Terms

Green Field Site – A green field site is a site with no or limited existing infrastructure. A detailed planning process is required to develop it to productive border-check or pressurised irrigation. Not having an irrigation system that you want to retain allows flexibility in the development to be undertaken. However, “New irrigation guidelines” need to be considered in the development of green field sites – see Step 2.2.11.

Laser graded border-check irrigation – A laser graded border-check system is often (but not always) designed and implemented as part of a whole farm plan. Earth moving using laser-controlled equipment allows for well constructed bays, channels and drains and accurate slopes, allowing efficient irrigation.

However, some laser graded irrigation systems may be on permeable soils, resulting in excessive deep seepage, or may be otherwise inefficient. It may be possible to improve such systems with better management, or it may be desirable to replace them with a more efficient system.

Non-laser graded border-check irrigation – These layouts normally follow the natural slope with no or limited disturbance to the soil. They may be developed into a well-designed laser graded border-check irrigation layout or may be changed to a pressurised irrigation system.

Pressurised Irrigation – These systems use energy to transport water from its source to the paddock. They consist of a water source, a pumping unit, a pipe system, and a means by which water is applied to the crop. A centre pivot is an example of a pressurised irrigation system. Well designed systems can be very efficient.
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