Canterbury is NZ’s Irrigation Capital

August 6, 2013 Phil Gatehouse

Data from the most recent agricultural production survey carried out by Statistics New Zealand shows that Canterbury has solidified its position as the irrigating capital of New Zealand, converting an area the size of New Zealand’s largest lake into irrigated farmland since 2007.

The extra 60,000 hectares would cover an area the size of Lake Taupo, and has been made up largely of spray irrigation systems including K-Line irrigation pods, pivot irrigators and travelling irrigators.

When comparing the types of irrigation, the use of less efficient borderdyke type flood systems decreased nationally by 16,400 hectares (17 percent) and spray systems increased nationally by 122,800 hectares (21 percent) for the five-year period ending June 2012.

At RX Plastics we have found that the data definitely fits with our experience. Not only has the overall area increased, but many farmers are moving away from less efficient watering provided by the traditional borderdykes, which can often result in overwatering, to lower volume sprinkler systems such as K-Line.

Canterbury is our largest catchment for K-Line and the pods can be seen on many farms in the region.

Choosing an effective spray irrigation system is always a matter of compromise, between high labour, low capital cost options like K-Line, or higher capital cost, low labour alternatives like our new G-Set irrigation system. In both cases, the principles of having a low application rate to avoid over watering applies.

For farmers wanting to make the best decision about irrigation solutions, key factors including budget, labour availability, type of terrain, paddock shape and what crops are to be grown should all be taken into account.

Statistics New Zealand has found total irrigated land increased by 102,000ha between June 2007 and 2012, in its agricultural production census.

About the Author

Still rivers run deep with Phil, our technical product manager. He is a hands-on kinda guy who has been known to not only get out on the farm to demonstrate products to our customers, but also to turn his considerable skills to whipping up a company brochure or designing a piece of software when the occasion demands it.

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