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Cane farmers on Great Barrier Reef adopt irrigation automation to fix rising groundwater, prevent run off



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For expertise fans, automation is the long run, however Queensland cane farmers hope automation will resolve an issue from the previous and, in flip, defend the Nice Barrier Reef. 

Whereas not fairly as handy as saying, “Alexa, water my crops,” growers hope automating their irrigation can arrest many years of rising groundwater and salinity points, use much less water and stop runoff.

Steve Pilla farms at Giru, south of Townsville, the place a mix of excessive cane costs, costly electrical energy and the employee scarcity has made automation a necessity.

“I have been away [and] at conferences and the pumps simply run themselves,” he stated.

“I haven’t got to be up at two o’clock within the morning to alter the set over.”

Mr Pilla’s 150-hectare farm sits within the Burdekin, Australia’s largest sugar-growing area. Right here, because of good entry to groundwater, cane has been grown proper alongside the Nice Barrier Reef since 1875.

However simply as the standard of water flowing into the reef has come beneath scrutiny, so has the standard of the groundwater.

Man in green work shirt stands in front of cane crop and next to an irrigation system.
Giru farmer Steve Pilla has automated his whole 150ha cane farm.(ABC Rural: Lucy Cooper)

Lurking under the floor

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth.

In response to the Nationwide Centre for Groundwater Analysis and Coaching someplace between 30 and 60 per cent of the water utilized in farming, cities and business comes from underground.