For vegetable growers in eastern Victoria, NSW and Queensland it is timely to review their water availability for summer crops. The Bureau of mmeterology is forecasting a drier than average spring. This compounds the dry year to date with some vegetable growing regions receiving less than half of their usual rainfall (see figure below).
Knowing how wet or dry your subsoil moisture will help make decisions around when to start or increase irrigation, when to terminate cover crops, and how much "insurance water" you have in your soil.
Crop water use can increase by more than 400% in spring - early summer due to rapid crop growth combined with increases in seasonal water demand (ETo). Be prepared for the increase in irrigation demand.
Make sure your crop monitoring and soil moisture tools are working before it really warms up and crops really get going.
Understanding Irrigation Decisions has been written to put in content and provide guidance on irrigation decisions ranging from enterprise planning to the paddock. To understand the breadth of irrigation decisions requires consideration of the social, financial, agronomic and engineering aspects – a challenging task. Understanding Irrigation Decisions has combined this breadth into one document.
A check of your irrigation system will ensure you are ready to start irrigating on time and are set-up well for the season ahead.
This checklist, while developed for K-Line systems, is applicable to most irrigation systems used in vegetable production. Use it as a guide to your irrigation system check.
When irrigating vegetable crops, the use of poor water quality can affect both the crop and soil in which the plants are growing.
Water analysis is a valuable tool for determining potential or existing salinity problems, developing irrigation strategies, and verifying toxicities or mineral imbalances.
This fact sheet covers the water quality parameters you should know about, like salinity, sodicity, calcium carbonate and other macronutrients.
Recycled water is used in nearly all Australian states for vegetable production. Recycled water irrigation schemes offer a number of benefits.
Need to know more about irrigating with recycled water? Then check out this fact sheet that provides a practical overview on the guidelines for recycled water, potential issues, nutrients and further information.
The series, produced by Greater Sydney Local Land Services, Applied Horticultural Research and VegNET NSW helps growers explore how to implement protected cropping on their growing operations.
Using water efficiently means applying enough water to meet the needs of the crop - not more, not less.
A soil in good condition consists of around 50% solid matter; this includes organic matter. The remaining space should be half filled with air and half with water. Organic matter is the main driver of soil health.
Read this practical fact sheet for guidance on readily available water (RAW) and soil texture, as well as healthy soil conditions.
Sweet corn has a high water requirement. The most sensitive growth stages (3–5) are also when crop water usage is at its highest, increasing by more than 400% over a few weeks. This rapid increase in crop water use can catch growers out and reduce yield and quality.
Read this fact sheet to discover more about practical irrigation tips including crop development, water use and key irrigation decisions, as well as handy tools available to help with irrigation decisions. Guidance on soil moisture monitoring is also provided.