The application of a gravity-fed micro-irrigation system to the cotton industry may make some skeptics, but the proof of its effectiveness is in the bales.
Testing the N-Drip system on 11 hectares of their 70ha crop this year, the Rother family, Nangwee, saw a 26% water saving combined with a 47% higher yield compared to their irrigated crop by flood.
“It was a bigger crop, a bigger crop and the results are showing for themselves,” said Howard Rother.
“The drip field went from 11 bales per hectare compared to the flood which was 7.5; it was a remarkable result.
“The difference between 7.5 balls and 11 means the system has more than paid for itself in a year.”
The result of bales per megalitre also gives a clear picture, with 3 ML / ha applied to the field drip for a yield of 3.667 bales, while the flood field was cultivated on 4 ML / ha for a yield of 1.875 balls / ML.
“The huge water savings means we can put another crop in it, so we’re going to put in some barley and we can get out another one,” Mr. Rother said.
“We were, I wouldn’t say skeptical, but we wondered how good it was and then we found it to be exceptional.”
Mr Rother said it was an ideal year to test the system, given the long period of drought.
“Not every year will be like this, every season is different and as you know in agriculture you can’t extrapolate and say every year will be the same,” he said.
“It has been a particularly good year where the drip has been effective, given that long dry period from around November to the end of January and this is where this system shines.”
The results are sufficient proof that the system is worth investing in. “We are going to install another field, [bringing it to] 44ha in total.
“The two fields we now have in drip come directly from the borehole; the next field we are going to do later in the year will be dam.
“It will be exciting to see how we can develop it from the dam, with a larger volume of water, and we will probably do 20ha at one time, but we may need a different system. [set-up].
“N-Drip is going to design it around that because we have a little bit of water in reserve; we’ve had good rains since February, so we’re going to try a dam field, which is exciting.”
N-Drip Australia Managing Director Udi David Stern said he was happy with the performance of the test culture.
“We had a good control field where we had the opportunity to compare conventional flood irrigation versus N-Drip and we measured both irrigation and yield,” he said.
“These two blocks started with the same story – fallow for three years, planted the same day in a single hopper situation, and we used the same variety.
“We have proven over the past two seasons that N-Drip is an incredible solution for cotton.”
The system is not limited to cotton – with application capabilities in cereal crops, horticulture and cane – but Mr. David Stern said they “have a very good way of adding value to the crops. cotton producers “.
“We have other producers where we have saved 50% of the water,” he said.
“The important thing that we see – because cotton requires so much water and the important asset for the producer is water – is the megaliter, so when they look at the yield results, they are more interested in knowing the yield. bale / ML rather than bale / ha.
“In Howard’s case, we doubled it, so there’s an almost 100% increase in ball / ML efficiency.”