DAVCO Farming is continually investing in research and development to remain at the leading edge of efficient sugar cane production.
Current projects include:
Current projects include:
- GPS Machinery Management Systems
- Groundwater Utilisation for Salinity Management
- Trickle Tape Irrigation Trial
- Electrification of Lateral Move Irrigators
GPS Based Machinery Management Systems
With our partners at Agtrix we are developing a Machinery Management System based on real time communication with mobile machinery. The system continually transmits measurments to a central server for display, logging and analysis. Initially the system is being installed on a harvester, spray rig, landforming tractor and a number of field tractors.
Typical data that we intend to collect includes:
Groundwater Utilisation for Salinity Management
The Burdekin area of north Queensland boasts some of the most productive cane growing land in the world but intensive irrigation is causing concerns about groundwater.
Since the late 1980s groundwater levels have been on the rise, by up to half a metre per year in some places. In 2007, 20 per cent of the Burdekin had groundwater within four metres of ground level and its believed the latest wet season would have raised those levels even higher.
To combat this, Davco Farming is conducting an innovative research project aimed at extracting groundwater from areas at risk of salinity due to a rising water table. Blending with low salinity river water is required in some areas. This project aims to demonstrate the sustainable use of groundwater that otherwise would be unsuitable for irrigation.
While in upriver areas of the Burdekin very little can be done to remove or use the water due to accessibility and low flow rates, in the north larger volumes of less salty water are available.
Davco is exploring the possibility of re-using ground water for irrigation purposes and will be monitoring the salinity and nutrient levels in the groundwater as well as the yield of cane crops grown using groundwater irrigation.
Some of the soils are quite sodic and so the addition of low salinity well some salinity in the groundwater or the irrigation water will actually help the soakage of those soils so it may negate the need for using things like gypsum.
This project is partly funded by the Australian government.
Trickle Tape Irrigation Trial
Davco Farming is currently conducting a 300ha research trial of trickle tape irrigation to better understand its technical and economic feasibility for sugar cane.
Trickle tape irrigation or subsurface drip irrigation is one of the most advanced method of irrigation, which enables the application of the small amounts of water to the soil through the drippers placed below the soil surface.
One of the most commonly discussed aspects of trickle tape irrigation system is installation depth and spacing of the tape. Determining the appropriate depth and spacing of installation involves consideration of soil structure, texture, and crop's root development pattern. Site-wise and crop-wise variations of these parameters generally requires site specific research.
Davco Farming is testing the suitability of irrigating two rows of sugar cane spaced 1m apart from a single tape line.
Electrification of Lateral Move Irrigators
Lateral move irrigators are generally powered by diesel engines. Powering them with electrictricity has a number of benefits such as: