MANJIMUP superfine Merino woolgrower Ron Niven hopes irrigating a renovated pasture paddock to provide green feed over summer can save the cost of buying in any feed.
Ron and his wife, Jennifer, run 170 ewes as part of a superfine flock of up to 600-head on their 70-hectare ‘Four Seasons’ property, while they also operate The Grange Superfine Poll Merino Stud.
The farm comprises a mixture of good, well-drained soils growing predominantly clover pastures.
This summer, Ron plans to better utilise water from a gully dam on the property to irrigate a 4.5ha paddock and another 1.5ha area of flat country to provide green feed for the ewes.
While he has previously sown clover across the farm, in this paddock he has sown an irrigation grazier pasture blend, which includes white clovers, ryegrass and fescue. It is currently being grazed down by the sheep and will be cut for hay before irrigation commences later in the year. He also plans to better renovate the flat area.
“Hopefully it will provide good nutrition over summer and I’ll float the sheep in and out of the paddock, as well as on the flat country down the bottom that I hope to keep green,’’ Ron said.
“It will mainly be for the ewes that lamb at the end of April.
“Hopefully it will also mean that I shouldn’t have to buy any feed in.’’
Another benefit of the green feed over summer could be improved wool production and quality.
For the irrigation system, Ron said he initially got “lots of quotes’’ on travelling irrigators, which were just too expensive, before he recognised the benefits of K-Line Pod Irrigation through his local CRT store, Precision Horticulture and Rural.
Distributed nationally by Philmac and available through CRT and ProWater Nationwide stores, K-Line is a specially-formulated, flexible tubing and unique, patented pod sprinkler system that reduces time and money spent on irrigation installation, operating and repairs.
The heart of the system is a series of highly durable, transportable pods. Made from advanced thermoplastics, the pod protects a sprinkler that is firmly attached to the strong and flexible polyethylene K-Pipe, which resists kinking, abrasive soils, freezing, UV light and the stresses of transporting.
The low cost, modular system can be shifted easily, even by a quad bike, and it can adapt and grow as required, efficiently irrigating from 1 hectare to more than 10,000ha. The preference is to shift the K-Line while the sprinklers are operating.
It is a low pressure system, designed to distribute water with a slow, efficient absorption method similar to soft rain – saving time, labour and water resources. It is available with pressure compensating sprinklers, which provide excellent uniformity even in hilly applications.
Ron said the paddock was 300 metres long and 150m wide and he had three 150m long K-Line systems to use across the paddock, plus another small section he had made for an area.
The systems are using the standard size K-Line pods with Nelson sprinklers spaced 12.5m apart.
“If it is successful, I will get more. It is highly flexible and so portable – you can shift it anywhere.’’
Ron also has a new irrigation pump due to arrive with a 40-horsepower Perkins motor to drive the 40 sprinklers.
“At the moment, we will only be operating off a 3-inch mainline, but, if successful, we will probably go to a 4-inch mainline and then have a 3-inch mainline going down to the flat,’’ he said.
Debbie Sanders at Precision Horticulture and Rural said the K-Line Pod Irrigation was well suited to the region and the store had received wider interest in the system, including from vegetable growers.
“It is highly suitable for vegetable crops and for summer pastures for sheep and cattle,’’ Debbie said.
“There is quite a bit of solid set irrigation in the area, but K-Line is a lot easier. It is cost-effective, low maintenance, you can move it around, and it saves time and labour.’’
She said the CRT store, together with Philmac, hoped to hold an open day at the Niven’s property to demonstrate the system to growers.
The local Philmac representative can assist growers with designs of the K-Li
ne Pod Irrigation for their properties, while Precision Horticulture and Rural provides ongoing service and support for the systems.
Growers interested in the K-Line Pod Irrigation can contact Precision Horticulture and Rural on (08) 9771 1822, or visit their nearest CRT or ProWater Nationwide store.