An innovative 'pipe and riser' project is taking Golders Dairy Farm in Jervois to a new level of water efficiency and savings.
Based in the Lower Murray, Lawrie and Michelle Golder have replaced old open channels with the new underground pipe system, which sees water bubble up through risers and spreads evenly across the paddocks.
As a result, Lawrie said he can now water his pastures more efficiently – using 20% less water - and quickly, with much more control.
The move to a pipe and riser system was made possible through a grant under the South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) Program.
"It's very simple to use," Mr Golder said.
"With the old channel system, once you started irrigating, you couldn't stop the process but now we have complete control, we can shut it down whenever we need to.
"The new system is as good or better than I thought it would be, with better quality pasture and more growth and we are saving water because there is no water logging."
Currently with 240 well fed cows, Mr Golder said he may look at increasing the herd size because they are growing feed more efficiently.
While the ‘pipe and riser' technology is quite well-known, the Golders initially considered the cost of installing the system prohibitive.
"The SARMS Irrigation Industry Improvement [3IP] grant enabled us to go ahead and now we feel we are also better prepared for a next drought as we can still grow good pasture on less water," he said.
Visiting and learning from others in the local area and also in Victoria where the system is used extensively gave the Golders the confidence to start and now extend the project.
SARMS is contributing to the South Australian Government's commitment and implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. SARMS is funded by the Australian Government and is being delivered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) over six years to mid-2019.