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Completed project

Communicating efficient irrigation practices in the horticultural industries (HG10020)

Key research provider: Irrigation Australia
Publication date: Monday, January 19, 2015

What was it all about?

Irrigation underpins the viability horticulture in Australia so communicating technical information about efficient irrigation practices to growers, and to the businesses and organisations that service them, is crucial. This is especially the case with the increasing pressures on irrigation managers to implement and demonstrate water use efficiency.

This project, which ran for three years from January 2012, aimed to improve communication about irrigation.

The project followed these stages…

  • Completing an audit of communication about irrigation to identify current knowledge gaps about irrigation technology and practice
  • Developing a communication plan for the horticulture and amenity sectors of the irrigation industry
  • Implementing the communication plan, in particular developing content as a result of closer relationships with R&D corporations, the service sector and horticulture industries. 

The research began with surveys of horticulture growers, and the horticulture and irrigation industries.

The vast majority (84%) of growers said that having access to up-to-date irrigation information was important, very important or most important in comparison to having information on other farm activities (such as weed and pest control).

Irrigation topics in greatest demand by growers were…

  • Efficient ways of managing water 
  • System maintenance 
  • Relationship between soil and irrigation 
  • System operation 
  • Water security. 

Topics of most interest to horticulture and irrigation industry respondents were…

  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Efficient ways of managing water 
  • Equipment standards and performance e.g. results of tests and comparing performance
  • Training. 

To meet these needs, a communication plan was developed, making use of Irrigation Australia’s three main communication channels: the Irrigation Australia journal, website and the Backwash newsletter.

During the project…

  • Twelve editions of the Irrigation Australia journal were published
  • 33 editions of Backwash were sent out
  • Horticulture industry development officers were added to the Backwash mailing list
  • The Irrigation Australia website was updated and redesigned to provide better access to information on best practice
  • Articles relevant to the commercial and amenity horticulture sectors featured in at least three quarters of journal content, including horticulture case studies on efficient irrigation.
Details

This project was funded through Hort Innovation