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Pilot farm summary

The ten Irrigation Insight pilot farms are located across the Canterbury Plains.

The Irrigation Insight programme is built on a pilot study where we work with farmers in co-learning and co-developing on-farm irrigation management tools for improved irrigation practices.

The Cust Water Users’ Group includes five farms where the farmers work together as a team to make a difference to their irrigation practices. At each pilot farm, instruments are installed to measure rainfall, irrigation, soil moisture and soil temperature. A local climate station facilitates refining weather forecast to local conditions.

The pilot farmers are provided 24/7 web access to on-farm irrigation, rainfall, evaporation, drainage, soil moisture and soil temperature, flow and pasture growth data, all based either on estimates or measurements, and next three-day weather forecasts. Weather forecast are provided as “raw” data as well as “processed.” Raw data includes rainfall, wind, humidity, cloud cover and air temperature. With processed data, the next three day rainfall is integrated into current soil moisture condition to provide a prediction of expected soil moisture status over the next three days. This prediction assists in making informed irrigation decisions.

About the author

 NIWA Principal Scientist - Catchment Hydrology, Applied Hydrology and Irrigation Insight programme manager

About Irrigation Insight

Interested in knowing more about the Irrigation Insight Programme and what it means to you?