Queensland nursery manager Kieran Studders had two simple goals when he first installed the irrigation system on the four-hectare Big Leaf Wholesale Nurseries site at North Arm, near Eumundi – to save time and water.
Three years on and in the second stage ofthe Queensland government-funded Rural Water Use Efficiency Irrigation Futures initiative, Kieran has achieved a 60 per cent improvement in water use efficiency (WUE).
Canopy Nursery has achieved a water saving of 6.45 megalitres per hectare of nursery production over the last three years. During this period the nursery has been engaged in the Rural Water Use Efficiency (RWUE) initiative, and an Irrigation, Drainage and Energy Management Plan (IDEMP) has been developed for the business, complete with action plans to guide the nursery through on-farm improvements and upgrades.
Spring Creek Seedlings, a seedling production nursery supplying local vegetable growers, located on Queensland’s Granite Belt southwest of Brisbane has made significant productivity and water saving gains under the Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative (RWUEI).
Benaraby Junction Nursery, located near Gladstone, is a production nursery supplying their own retail facility as well as landscaping projects in the region. Over a period of 21 years Colin Olsen and Judy Turner have implemented a number of water efficiency measures both prior to, and during the Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative (RWUEI) project which have amounted to cost savings of $92000/ annum.
A biological water clarifier was added to a nursery water storage containing increasing levels of algae, plankton and surface floating weeds, leading to costly management and maintenance activities, crop production issues and an unpleasant odour. Water turbidity decreased, algal blooms had disappeared, and the previous unpleasant odour was no longer evident.
The Portable Weight Based Scheduling Tool has been developed to assist growers in Nursery Production obtain a better understanding of their irrigation scheduling options to improve on-farm water use efficiency.
This case study looks at Award Plants, a fast-growing production nursery located just off the Bruce Highway, north of Brisbane. The business is owned and operated by Marc and Selena Ward and is recognised for the production of quality flowering and perennial shrubs for the retail industry.