Monday 3 April 2017

Wheat Crop World Record for Precision Pioneers

Eric and Maxine Watson have officially taken out the world record for a wheat crop, harvesting a massive 16.791 tonnes/ha. The Watson's were Precision VRI pioneers in the South Island and are constantly farming ahead of the game - this just proves it!!

TVNZ One: Ashburton farmer takes out world record for wheat growing

The team at Lindsay NZ have worked closely with the Watson's over the last nine years and are extremely thankful for the input Eric and Maxine have had into the research and development of the Precision VRI product. We would like to congratulate them on this commendable achievement!

More about Ashburton's Precision Pioneers

Eric and Maxine Watson
The Watson’s farm 490 hectares on the Canterbury Plains, with annual rainfall of 600mm, growing a wide range of crops on different soil types. In 2005 Rangitata Holdings water rights restricted their annual and daily water take, so they started looking for ways to stretch their available irrigation water. With an annual water volume of 1,183,500m³, 3.7mm per hectare per day and 5ha of irrigator overlaps, VRI was considered as the solution to save water where it was being wasted. This could then be applied elsewhere on the property where needed.

Ordering four VRI systems in 2008, after only two systems had been built and tested less than twelve months earlier, Eric and Maxine took a lot of trust and belief that the system would achieve what Precision Irrigation claimed. And the results exceeded their expectations. The Watsons now have seven out of their lateral-move irrigators fitted with Precision VRI.

“It’s a great system with a big future. Installing VRI was ideal for cutting out the overlaps inherent with my geo-lateral systems. Now that I have VRI, I couldn’t run the machines without it.”

The couples dedication to efficient water use has seen them recognised with numerous awards including the 2011 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Award and the Environment Canterbury water efficiency award. The Watson’s say they were just doing what was needed to get the best out of their limited water take. Once they identified the greater efficiency with Precision VRI, the opportunities snowballed.

Trials have been conducted under one of the lateral-move irrigators on Rangitata Holdings to prove how water can be saved through smart scheduling to only apply as much as is needed over different crops and soil types. The combination of Rakaia and Wakanui soils, including stony sandy loams and silt loams and contour of the paddock produces varying irrigation requirements across the length of the particular irrigator.

Eric and Maxine had the property electromagnetic (EM) mapped and the soil water holding capacities quantified, plus soil moisture sensors were installed to measure the actual moisture content of the soil. This allows the Watson’s to schedule the correct amount of irrigation to individual zones which is applied by the intelligent Precision VRI system. This results in the crops getting the exact quantity of moisture required and no water is wasted.

"Being able to match application rates to the exact amount of water needed to ensure the soil has enough moisture is important to water efficiency and means that over-watering of crops is eliminated."

This philosophy has been extended beyond the trials to the entire field and has resulted in a considerable saving of 15% of water that can be irrigated elsewhere. The extrapolated results for the entire field equate to a saving of 1 million litres of water and associated pumping costs per day.

Lindsay NZ