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Location

The SSF farm is located 4km north of Leitchville, and lies within the Goulburn Murray Water irrigation supply network.

Farming Enterprise

Sustainable Soils and Farms was formed with the aim of consolidating groups of small dairy farms into larger scale hubs, capable of delivering a scale of milk production that will remain sustainable into the long term. Core to the SSF philosophy is the maximisation of irrigation water efficiency and optimisation of soil health through the application of organic soil treatments and the installation of efficient spray irrigation and moisture monitoring technologies.

The Leitchville property is 550ha in total, with 500ha previously irrigated, although much of this irrigated area was taken out of production during the drought.

The Leitchville property will have Lucerne pastures established under the spray irrigators, replacing the original rye grass pastures. When fully functional it is expected that the property will support a milking herd of 750 cows.

Project Description

The proponents had already installed two towable centre pivots on grazing areas near to the main dairy prior to commencement of the OFIEP project. They are keen convert the full property in two further stages as soon as practicable.

However capital constraints have been holding them back. The OFIEP funding has enabled them to proceed earlier than would have been possible, with this first stage of the extended project involving conversion of 150ha from flood to spray. The proponents combined this with organic soil upgrades to maximise moisture retention and upgrade soil productivity.

The works involve:

  • decommissioning of the existing flood irrigation layouts

  • installation of 5 centre pivot irrigators – 1 towable and 4 fixed pivots.

  • paddock reconfiguration - construction of new laneways and stock movement systems to accommodate major changes in water movement and layout

  • construction of a new 30ML storage dam supplied by a new 1.2 km gravity channel and decommissioning of 3 km of old channel

  • construction of new effluent and recycling ponds (with commensurate water savings handed over).

The proponents transferred 500ML of high security water savings to the Commonwealth in return for the OFIEP installation.

Report Card

  • Greater flexibility to grow a range of winter and summer crops

  • Anticipated Water Savings of 4 ML/ha in the next irrigation season

  • Lower labour requirements

  • Higher yields using less water