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Increased irrigation knowledge leads to efficient water usage

Words Abbey Ernst and Robyn May | Photo Kerry Trapnell 

Abbey Ernst started work as Cape York NRM’s Sustainable Industries Officer in December 2018. She will work on the Queensland Government’s Paddock to Reef project, and the Federal Government’s Healthy Farming Futures project.

Abbey recently spent five days in Home Hill (along with Extension Officers from NQ Dry Tropics, Farmacist, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, AgroTech Solutions and local councils) to complete her first block of Certificate III in Irrigation Training.

Abbey said the course provided insight into the fundamental principles of irrigation, and developed foundational knowledge regarding soils, varying demands of crops, hydraulics, maintenance, monitoring and installation methods of irrigation systems and associated applications.

“We went on multiple site visits in the sugar cane dominated region to put theory into practice. We visited a local landholder’s sugar cane farm and observed and checked his drip irrigation and gravel filtration systems. We also visited a local council site to assess overhead sprinkler systems and practice the efficiency monitoring method of catch cans,” Abbey said.

A catch can identifies poorly performing sprinklers so that farmers can make modifications to ensure systems are using just the right amount of water, leading to maximum sprinkler efficiency.

Abbey said that she is looking forward to utilising her learnings and skillsets while working with landholders in the Cape York region.

“With developed understanding, practice and cooperation, we aim to achieve improved economic and environmental outcomes via efficient irrigation and utilisation of resources” she said.