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“Whroo”, located 8km south east of Kyalite, is owned and managed by John and Lois Tippett. The property covers an area of 2,098ha, of which 750ha is irrigated. Irrigation supply is directly pumped from the Wakool River, which forms part of the NSW Murray Regulated River system.

Farming Enterprise

The Tippett property comprises 3,400ha of light, red sand hill country and 1,000ha of heavier clay-loam soils. It is now a substantial horticultural operation. The owners are experienced spray technology farmers and provide an important regional example of proven water savings and farming success to be derived from conversion from flood to spray.

The Tippett’s brought the property 15 years ago. It was then primarily a wheat and sheep farm with poorly laid out contour irrigation country producing relatively poor outcomes as irrigated pastures.

The Tippett Family have progressively developed the sand hills under centre pivot irrigation for horticulture, particularly potatoes, and prior to this OFIEP upgrade they had 11 pivot systems already operational. Their upgrade of irrigation on the heavier country has been more recent.

John Tippett explained that the On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program has allowed them to continue to develop the heavier areas of country for growing winter cereals under spray. The plan is to begin with winter crops and see what the equipment can do in terms of summer crops over the next few seasons.

Project Description

The OFIEP project replaced 80ha of the old contour flood layouts with two, 40ha centre pivots. The Reinke pivots are designed to put out 18mm/day which provides both winter and summer cropping options. John explained that the old contour irrigation layouts used too much water and were too labour intensive to be feasible.

“We might flood irrigate when there is plenty of water around, but generally water is too precious to be flooding over this country for the return. Our aim with installing these new pivots is to turn our most unproductive country into an area that will return us good yields and profits.”

It was estimated that the Tippett project would generate in the order of 2ML/ha per year. The Tippetts transferred 110 ML of water entitlement to the Commonwealth Government in return for project funding.

Report Card

  • Ability to more effectively utilise the heavier soil areas of the property using less water

  • Increased flexibility in crop selection.

  • Projected Water Savings of 2ML/ha.

  • Improved certainty with climate variation