SIP2 CottonInfo Optimised Tailwater backup

In recent years the cotton industry has increased their adoption of bankless channel or siphon-less irrigation systems. This is driven by a need to address labour resourcing, energy use, management efficiency and the reuse of tailwater.  The most basic siphon-less systems principally remove the need for siphons and aim to minimise soil movement in the transition from siphon to siphon-less. There are different approaches being implemented, some with tail water reuse design and others that utilise existing tail drains and still pump tailwater.

The continuous reuse of tail water in adjacent bays can potentially reduce water loss from channels, reduce pumping costs and enhance efficiency of cultivation. Additionally, transitioning to a bankless channel design can enable higher flow rates through the field, this can minimise non uniformity and reduce deep drainage, but irrigations may be more frequent.

There has been limited research into the irrigation performance (application efficiency and distribution uniformity) of these designs, but the irrigators who are utilising some of these designs have found improved irrigation water use efficiency.

This season SIP2 has worked with USQ, Padman Stops, GVIA  and CottonInfo to collect detailed information on irrigation performance in the tailwater backup siphon-less design developed by Glenn Lyons and implemented by Saunders farming in the St George region of Qld.

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