Fact Sheet

Automated irrigation and successful aerobic rice production

In September 2021 the Australian Grain magazine printed a story on Automated irrigation and the production of aerobic rice. The story talks about the research being done in partnership with Darrell Fiddler, farm manager at De Bortoli Wines near Griffith and Deakin University. The intension was to develop linked sensing, forecast and automation systems. The team were also looking to determine thresholds to trigger irrigation events to achieve optimal water management in aerobic rice.

Reducing or eliminating the period of permanent flooding of a rice crop by flush irrigating can substantially reduce rice water use. Automated surface irrigation systems can overcome the increased labour burden associated with high frequency flush irrigation of rice. Key to maximising water productivity in an aerobic rice system is the need to understand irrigation requirements. Integration of sensing and forecasting (soil moisture conditions and extreme weather events) with smart sensing automation systems allow for irrigation events to be forecast, allowing water to be applied when required.