Local Member inspects first new pivot irrigator

20 January 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

The first of the 40 new centre pivots being installed by MSF Sugar across 17 sugar cane farming projects has been built and is ready for operation.

Part of the $15 million water efficiency project, the centre pivot on MSF Sugar’s Marriott’s Farm on Boonooroo Road, Maryborough is the first to help ensure efficient water usage to maximise sugar cane growth.

Member for Maryborough, Anne Maddern MP and Senator Matthew Canavan will visit the property today.(Ed: Tuesday 20 January at 11:00am) to inspect the pivot.

Ms Maddern said water was critical in the Maryborough district where sugar cane requires 12 ML per ha of water to achieve its maximum growth potential and each ML/ha used by the crop has the potential to convert up to 10 tonne cane per ha provided all other constraints are removed.

“I commend MSF Sugar for their water management initiative.

“Their move to centre-pivot irrigation is a crucial step in drought-proofing cane land, to the extent that is possible,” she said.

General Manager, MSF Sugar Maryborough Region, Stewart Norton said Ms Maddern had shown considerable interest in water management in the Maryborough area and had a sound understanding of the benefits the irrigation program will bring to cane lands.

“Compared to high pressure irrigators, which are commonly used throughout the region, these centre pivots deliver significantly greater water efficiency and improved energy efficiency.

“These centre pivots use leading edge technology that allow them to be remotely operated by a smart phone (from anywhere in the world), incorporate moisture monitoring capability so that water application can be optimised.

“This project is consistent with the regional water strategy that Anne has been driving in consultation with key stakeholders, which is aimed at delivering an expanded, more secure and more reliable irrigation system – the key platform for agriculture in the region,” Mr Norton said.

The project will see an additional 1,619 hectares irrigated with 90 percent water efficient low pressure centre pivot irrigation systems. The irrigation upgrade includes 441 hectares upgraded from dryland farming to fully irrigated, 1119 hectares upgraded from partial irrigation, and the development of 59 hectares of new cane land.

To ensure maximum sugar cane growth, water will be applied as determined by the growth stage of the crop and prevailing weather conditions such as rainfall, temperature, humidity and wind.

ENDS For further information please contact: Stewart Norton General Manager, MSF Sugar Maryborough Region, Mobile: 0408 184 806