The area planted to cotton in central and southern New South Wales this summer is down an estimated 37 per cent on last year due to limited availability of affordable water, according to latest industry figures.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has called on the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council to urgently undertake a review of water deliveries to ensure irrigators won’t be restricted during critical peak summer demand.
The assessment of a range of irrigation systems by the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association points to a future of automated, water-efficient, labour-saving systems taking over from traditional, hand-shift siphon irrigation.
Taraba at Toobeah is for sale by expressions of interest, and will test values for irrigated and dryland cropping country in the Macintyre Valley west of Goondiwindi.
National Irrigators’ Council chief executive officer, Steve Whan. says a ruling by the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs unit upholding a complaint about coverage of the Murray Darling Basin plan by ABC’s Background Briefing reinforces the need for balance in coverage.
The total amount of water stored in the Murray–Darling Basin’s dams has dropped below the 50 per cent mark, signalling the need for irrigators, industry operators and environmental water managers to continue their close watch on water availability as summer approaches.
Cotton planting is well underway in the eastern cropping belt where low water reserves and muted irrigation allocations will limit the potential crop to 2.2 million bales – fewer than half last season’s 4.6-million-bale crop.
The Darran Aggregation at St George is being sold by the Lindores family and offers the market an irrigation and large-scale dryland grazing and cropping operation with license to develop an 8000-head feedlot.
Cotton planting is beginning to gather pace throughout the eastern growing regions, but depleted water reserves are likely to see the area sown drop by half this season compared to last year.
As drought tightens its grip calls have been mounting for the 100,000 megalitres of wastewater that is released by treatment plants into Moreton Bay near Brisbane every year to be diverted to farmers further west. But is the idea economically feasible?
In a drought year when water for irrigation is especially sparse, calls have been growing for that treated water to be pumped and piped to irrigation areas in the Lockyer Valley and over the Great Dividing Range to the Darling Downs.