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A case study on the economics of overhead irrigation in the lower Burdekin

Poggio, M.J. and Hesp, C. and Attard, S.J. and Cameron, T. (2010) A case study on the economics of overhead irrigation in the lower Burdekin. In: Proceedings of the 2010 Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, 11th - 14th May 2010, Bundaberg, Queensland.

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Organisation URL: http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au
Publisher URL: http://www.assct.com.au

Abstract

Converting from an existing irrigation system is often seen as high risk by the land owner. The significant financial investment and the long period over which the investment runs is also complicated by the uncertainty associated with long term input costs (such as energy), crop production, and the continually evolving natural resource management rules and policy. Irrigation plays a pivotal part in the Burdekin sugarcane farming system. At present the use of furrow irrigation is by far the most common form due to the ease of use, relatively low operating cost and well established infrastructure currently in place. The Mulgrave Area Farmer Integrated Action (MAFIA) grower group, located near Clare in the lower Burdekin region, identified the need to learn about sustainable farming systems with a focus on the environment, social and economic implications. In early 2007, Hesp Faming established a site to investigate the use of overhead irrigation as an alternative to furrow irrigation and its integration with new farming system practices, including Green Cane Trash Blanketing (GCTB). Although significant environmental and social benefits exist, the preliminary investment analysis indicates that the Overhead Low Pressure (OHLP) irrigation system is not adding financial value to the Hesp Farming business. A combination of high capital costs and other offsetting factors resulted in the benefits not being fully realised. A different outcome is achieved if Hesp Farming is able to realise value on the water saved, with both OHLP irrigation systems displaying a positive NPV. This case study provides a framework to further investigate the economics of OHLP irrigation in sugarcane and it is anticipated that with additional data a more definitive outcome will be developed in the future.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Agriculture and Food
Additional Information:© Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ASSCT)
Keywords:Case studies; economic analysis; farming systems; furrow irrigation; irrigation; irrigation systems; operating costs; sugarcane; sustainability; agricultural systems; watering; Queensland; Australia.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Plant culture > Field crops
Deposited On:10 Apr 2012 03:23
Last Modified:10 Apr 2012 03:23

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