Case Study

Investing in satellite technology to manage irrigation in northern Victoria

Satellite technology combined with sensors provides increased precision for irrigation duration and scheduling. The profitability of this technology depends on the capital cost, the amount and value of irrigation water saved, and any associated increases in pasture consumption. If irrigation water is valued at $120/ML it is likely to be a profitable investment with ‘low end’ capital cost. If irrigation water is valued at $300/ML, then the ‘high end’ investment in improved satellite technology and sensors would be an attractive investment if the saved irrigation water was 0.5 ML/ha (IRR 14%).

The case study used in this analysis is located at Lancaster near Kyabram in northern Victoria and has a large area of perennial pasture.  The pasture is irrigated with well-developed irrigation infrastructure: an automated pipe and riser system, laser graded, and most irrigation runoff captured by a re-use system.