Peter Smith

Principal, Sapphire Irrigation Consulting

Peter Smith

Principal, Sapphire Irrigation Consulting

Peter started his professional career with the NSW Water Resources Commission working in the irrigation areas of the Riverina and Sunraysia, followed by several years in tillage research with NSW Agriculture at Condobolin. The majority of his career has been as an irrigation specialist with NSW DPI based in the north of the state and working throughout NSW and sometimes interstate and overseas. Peter is now the principal of Sapphire Irrigation Consulting.

His interests include irrigation system efficiency, energy efficiency, centre pivot and lateral move systems, surface irrigation performance, and irrigation training.

Peter served as chairman of the North West NSW Branch of IAL from 1999 to 2006 and as a national director in 2007 and from 2009 to 2015; and was the Summer Cropping Zone Co-Leader for the CRC for Irrigation Futures 2003 to 2010.

Peter has qualifications in agriculture and education and is a Certified Irrigation Agronomist.

Where: International Convention Centre, Sydney – Room E5.2 – E5.3

When: Day 2 – Thursday, 14 June 2018, 14.30 – 15.00

Abstract: This paper reports on the achievements of the NSW Optimised Dairy Irrigation Farm Project, funded under the Smarter Irrigation for Profit program. This project was located in Tamworth for the first phase and relocated to Aberdeen for the second phase. Both project sites were characterised by detailed mapping of elevation and soil type. Soil moisture monitoring equipment was installed. Baseline data on water and energy use per unit of production (biomass and milk) was determined. Trial data was then collected on a monthly or quarterly basis to measure efficiency gains. Each site also trialled the ‘Scheduling Irrigation Diary’, the first for the dairy industry. Improvements at the Tamworth site included a 21% reduction in power costs and an increase of average pump efficiency from 29% to 68%. Power costs for pumping water reduced from 2.93% to 1.8% of annual farm milk income in one year. Activities undertaken to date at the Aberdeen site to increase efficiency and profitability include installation of a water meter and pressure gauge at the river pump, and a performance evaluation and recalibration of an irrigation system. The improvements in performance will be identified following the 2017-18 irrigation season.

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