Farmers from across the state come together for annual Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association Field Day

Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association (GVIA) held their annual field day at Deer Park in Moree on Wednesday, February 6. 

Farmers from all over the state came together to learn about siphon-less irrigation and to share their experiences with each other. 

GVIA hosted the day in partnership with North West NSW Irrigation Australia, Local Land Services, NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Sustaining the Basin: Irrigated Farm Modernisation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation and CottonInfo.

More than 100 people gathered together to listen to research done on the new system, growers who have made the switch to siphon-less irrigation share their experiences as well as Boyce Chartered Accountants presenting from a finance perspective.

GVIA project officer Lou Gall said the field day is a great opportunity for farmers to come together and learn from each other.

“The real value of a field day is we're getting growers from all different walks of life and from all regions,” she said.

“We've got guys that come from southern NSW and guys that have come from southern Queensland, all here together talking and learning from each other and they're able to get a really good handle on what options there are and learn from each other's experiences.”

Deer Park manager Harry Cush spoke about his experiences with siphon-less irrigation and said one of the major benefits was that it added extra job security to their permanent employees.

“With the siphons we rely heavily on casual labour from mainly backpackers,” he said.

“So we’re looking at reducing the labour cost of not employing as many backpackers and employing more Australians that can fill the tractor driving job as well as the irrigation job with less labour cost.”

Mr Cush has been happy with his experiences with the new system.

“It’s a lot easier to manage. A lot less hassle, a lot less things to go wrong,” he said.

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Ms Gall says the new system has made irrigation much more efficient for the growers that have adopted it, compared to using siphons.

“Some guys really struggle to get efficiency in their irrigation when they want people to change siphons at two in the morning and they've got to get a team up of casual staff to get up at two in the morning and turn the siphons off and the efficiency of that's not there,” she said.

“Whereas here you can get one person up at two in the morning, it can take them 10 minutes, they can change it and they can manage it.

“One of the other things is these guys are saving a lot of energy as well because they're not having to drive around as much at night.

“But also, the designs are enabling them to turn tractors around much more efficiently.

“They're getting up to 10 percent to 30 percent improvement in the efficiency of their tractors and their spray rigs so that's pretty significant improvements and that's fuel saving.”

Mr Cush sees a lot of value in holding a field day and said it was great to see so many people who were interested in being efficient in their irrigation.

“It's good for us since we're a family operated farm,” he said.

“We're not a corporate farm so we try and do everything in house, we try and minimise the cost as much as possible and do things as quickly as possible so it's good to be able to show other people the way that we do it.

“Hopefully they'll be inspired to hopefully follow suit and see the easier way of doing it, see the benefits of siphon-less irrigation.

“It's great to see. It’s really positive for the cotton industry. It's exciting times ahead, especially with water efficiency and trying to grow as much cotton with as little water as possible, it's good to see.”