The Sugar industry uses energy in the form of electricity primarily for irrigation and diesel for on-farm machinery including planting and harvesting.
CANEGROWERS is the peak body for Australian sugarcane growers.
Many projects are underway to improve irrigation efficiency, assisting growers to apply the right amount of water at the right time, achieving energy and water efficiencies, along with greater productivity.
As an active participant in the Rural Water Use Efficiency Program, CANEGROWERS has worked with growers to improve water efficiency and in conjunction with SRA have developed numerous information sheets to assist with irrigation, including the use of soil moisture sensors, crop water use and calculations for furrow irrigation.
As an active participant in the Rural Water Use Efficiency – Irrigation Futures program, CANEGROWERS has produced a series of Virtual Bus Tour videos on cane farms which have implemented water and energy saving measures.
Additionally, a number of tools have been developed in conjunction with Sugar Research Australia and the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) to assist growers to calculate the ideal amount of water to apply to crops.
Smartcane BMP is the Cane Industry’s Best Management Practice program and the Irrigation module assists growers to improve efficiency. The BMP case studies provide some examples such as an Innisfail farmer who has saved fuel by working to reduce the number of passes in four paddocks, also leading to less soil disturbance. The farmer uses the quad-bike instead of the tractor for spot spraying, saving time and fuel.
The Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Advisory Committee (BBIFMAC) conducted an energy efficiency program for irrigators from 2013 – 2015 and developed numerous resources including fact sheets, case studies and presentations, all available at the project website. The site includes a number of Burdekin cane irrigation case studies.
CANEGROWERS Bundaberg has established an Irrigation Planning and Management Project to assist local growers to develop adaptive irrigation strategies, to maximise crop water use efficiency and economic return.
A Bundaberg cane farm installed a lateral move, a new pump and a larger-diameter irrigation main to save energy, and increase productivity, achieving a 60-70% reduction in $/ML pumped, and an overall annual benefit over $50,000. Read case study HERE
The Energy Savers program has undertaken audits at a number of cane farms through Queensland and case studies are available by clicking the ‘case studies’ button on the right.