Using 4100 metres of irrigators, made from nearly six kilometres of steel, Team Irrigation is helping a Cunnamulla partnership break into the tough Asian organic poultry market

Team Irrigation of Dubbo, in central-west NSW, has installed five lateral move irrigators and one centre pivot at a remote Queensland property at Hortonvale, near Cunnamulla, on the southern edge of the Darling Downs.

The irrigation system will allow Inglewood Farms to produce certified organic chickens for export by teaming up with Nulla Farming, who produce organic wheat and soybeans.

Project Directors, Craig Chandler & Bob Johnson of Team Irrigation said the project brought together several forward-thinking Queensland farmers and covered 2500 hectares of farming area.

"To expand their export market, Inglewood Farms went into partnership with Nulla Farming, to ensure they would have access to a reliable supply of organic grain," Mr Chandler said.

"Installing an irrigation system of this magnitude will give them the ability to rotate between a winter wheat crop and soybeans in summer."

"We installed five 250 horsepower diesel engines at Hortonvale, with a pumping capacity of 250 litres per second each and set the system up for remote operation by mobile phone."

"There are three lateral move irrigators measuring nearly 700m in length and another two that are 780m long, making this a very time and fuel efficient system and giving this operation a competitive edge in the supply of organic grain to ensure enough feed for their chickens."

Inglewood Farms is Australia's leading producer of organic free-range chicken, using strict certified organic farming methods, and has been operational since 1993, with 6,000 acres of organically certified land.

They process 5,000 chickens a day through their own abattoir and are the largest employer in Inglewood, with more than 90 staff.

Inglewood Farms researched best practice in organic farming and the most efficient techniques to use the water supply available, before contracting Team Irrigation, suppliers of Zimmatic lateral move irrigators and centre pivots. The production needs recognised the need to efficiently water crops with state-of-the-art irrigation infrastructure.

The project is the biggest irrigation system installed in Team Irrigation's five years of operation and took Mr Chandler & Mr Johnson and their 12-member team 10 weeks to install.

"This system has an incredible capacity to irrigate the crops Inglewood and Nulla Farming need to meet their business expansion goals and it is a efficient design," Mr Chandler said.

"The technology we used also includes a 3G mobile phone monitoring system that allows the operator to literally dial up the irrigator from anywhere on his property or around the world to check on the irrigator's operations."

Via mobile phone, the irrigator's computer uses a synthesised voice to tell the operator on the other end of the line the details of the irrigator's status, pressures, travel speed and application rate.

The operator can make changes to the operation of the irrigator simply by using his phone's keypad to speed up, slow down, change direction or even shut the irrigator down if is raining.

If the irrigator senses a problem itself, it can also phone the operator for directions.

In the near future, the irrigator will also be linked to a GPS system so the operator will be able to monitor its movement via the internet.


Project Commences January 2008

Wheat crop June 2008

Wheat Crop October 2008

Technical Specifications for this Project

Area irrigated

2700 acres

Equipment delivered

290 tonnes in 12 x 15m containers

Construction time

10 weeks

Irrigators

Three units of 696m long (14 x 48.77m spans); the spans are designed to accommodate 12m row crop tillage equipment and with the bee line GPS tractor cultivator they get exactly 4 x 12m passes with the cultivator with no overlap, saving fuel and time

Two larger units are 780m long (16 x 48.77m spans)

All units have a 3,500m run length;  it takes approximately 36 hours to walk down the 3,500m during an irrigation run

Engine capacity

Each Unit has a C' series turbo-charged Cummins diesel engine (230hp) 191kw for the smaller units and (260hp) 220kw for the larger units

Engines have a Murphy Engine/Irrigation management system fitted for monitoring of critical engine temperature, oil, etc and irrigation water pressure

They drive a Southern Cross End Suction Centrifugal Pump 10" discharge through a clutch

The engines have 30kw 415v belt driven alternator that provides 415v Power to the irrigator?s computer management system and the 3/4hp drives on each tower

Pump capacity

220 - 250 litres of water per second 

Centre pivot

465m long centre pivot, covers a 64 hectare rotation; 150hp, 110kw Cummins engine running a pump and alternator

Supplies 100 litres per second through 1100m of 300mm PVC pipe

Sprinklers

All irrigators are fitted with Nelson Irrigation 3000 series "Spinner" type sprinklers

Each sprinkler has a computer-designed nozzle and spray plate to ensure correct wetted area and spray pattern

Each sprinkler has a 15psi pressure regulator to ensure the same pressure throughout the length of the system, the operation at low pressure ensures correct application to minimize soil compaction and wind drift