The owner/managers of two successful farms in the Lockyer Valley in Queensland say best practice is bringing real benefits to their businesses. Source: AFDJ eNews
Growcom’s Land & Water staff produced video case studies showing the farm systems implemented by the two growers, Troy Qualischefski of Qualipac Farms at Glenore Grove and Wayne Keller at Lowood.
These were part of Hort360, the Best Management Practice program for horticulture.
Mr Qualischefski said that the Qualipac business focuses on producing quality onions and broccoli and had been a part of Growcom’s Water for Profit project for 10 years.
The farm now has automated watering, including the use of a six span lateral move irrigator, and uniformity of water distribution to the crops has improved to an accuracy of 95%.
“It’s made a big difference. We’re now producing the same tonnage of crops on 80% less water,” Mr Qualischefski said.
The farm has also switched to ‘tram tracking’ as part of a precision bed farming system utilising GPS technology.
“Our wheel marks are now in the one spot and our soil health is the best we’ve ever seen it, just by being more accurate about where our tractors are running and where we’re placing our chemicals and fertilisers,” Mr Qualischefski said.
He said that these improvements had also resulted in less sediment runoff into the Lockyer creek.
Wayne Keller grows a variety of vegetables at Lowood where extremely undulating country makes managing water run-off and soil erosion a constant challenge.
Irrigation scheduling on the lateral move irrigator delivers scheduled water in small amounts.
The Kellers have also put in contour banks, drains and sediment traps.
“When we work the soil we don’t rip it too deeply. We work shallowly and retain the thrash from the previous crop to help with wind and rain water erosion,” he said.
“With our combined approach we have been able to reduce costs in the farm operation without sacrificing any yield.”
The Hort360 video case studies can be viewed on the Growcom website.
Hort360 is a step by step, facilitated risk assessment tool designed to give growers a 360 degree view of their farm business operations.
The first module is designed to help growers to adopt Best Management Practice to protect land from erosion, prevent sediment and fertiliser run-off from farmland and manage farm inputs.
Growers in the Lockyer, Bremer, mid-Brisbane or Pumicestone subcatchments, are invited to take up a free farm service to identify areas of high risk for sediment management.