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New_automatic_irrigation_controllers_on_JackyBird_farms.jpg Water savings systems installed on JackyBird Farms
By: TB   (2013-09-13)

New programmable irrigation controllers have been installed at various points on the farm. The main goal is to produce the same or better crops with reduced water usage, while also cutting energy costs and labour effort. Essentially the system works by watering more frequently but for shorter spells thereby enabling the plants to take up the water more efficiently and, because the units operate autonomously through the night, less water is lost to daytime evaporation. Crucially, we set the pumps to run only at off-peak times, cutting our electricity costs, and also save all the time previously required moving around the farm opening and closing valves as well as switching pumps on and off. And, obviously, weekend irrigation work at overtime rates is virtually eliminated. Lastly, it is a simple matter to adjust the programmes so that the irrigation programme is optimised as the seasons change or to completely shut the system down when adequate rains have fallen. Financially, our expectation is to achieve a full cost pay-back within two years through savings of water, electricity and labour expenditure alone; and, if the expected harvest improvements materialise then the whole cost could be paid for within one season. This way we can plant more of the available farm area and produce larger harvests with minimal increased input costs.   

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