Water Dynamics Ushers in New Era of Irrigation Efficiency

One of the pioneers of broad scale mesclun mixed salad production in Australia is writing a new chapter in their success story with the introduction of an automated, radio-controlled irrigation system at its properties in northwest Victoria.

The Mait monitoring and control system – tailored for the customer’s optimised water use and production needs by irrigation specialist Water Dynamics – includes base radio stations that feed extensive remote-controlled systems, which all serve their farms near Mildura, Wemen, and Finlayson.

The innovation used to enhance production is an integral part of the customer’s plans to expand their operation, which was originally formed in the early 1980s. Since then, they have grown from a 45 (18.25 hectare) acre operation on the Mornington Peninsula to a total of more than 2,000 acres (800+ hectares) in Victoria through to the Victoria / NSW border – serving major markets, including Melbourne and Sydney.

Back in the beginning, our customer used to sell its produce from a truck at the Melbourne Wholesale Market, says veteran irrigation specialist David Bell, Sales Manager of Water Dynamics, whose experience extends from Tasmania through SA, Victoria, and NSW to the Northern Territory.

“This new radio-controlled system will assist in the customer’s quest to maintain quality, freshness, and cost-efficiency – while also producing the number of varieties necessary for market appeal. This allows for environmentally sustainable rotation of crops with a very short harvest cycle,” says David.

Control box interior (left) and exterior (right), for RC control extending over 8km line-of-sight

The crops undergo quite a process before their final destination onto our tables. They’re grown and maintained according to best farm practices, harvested according to strict selection criteria, checked against quality standards to be accepted or rejected, processed within the timelines of quality assurance processes and delivered in a timely manner.
Tailored system in partnership

“Automated systems can help cut out delay and optimise use of labour in a time of skills shortages. The Mait system installed at the customer’s Wemen and Finlayson properties is also a great asset to sustainability, water conservation and productivity.”

“But, at Water Dynamics, we’ve learned throughout our many years assisting Australia’s critical industries that there is no single irrigation solution that is right for all areas. Rather, it’s a tailored process that involves a close partnership with the customer and a deep knowledge of their environment, business and challenges. And whilst no customers, or solutions, are ever the same, having experience over a wide range of industries, products and applications is a great basis when it comes to finding the best result for our varying customer needs.”

“In this case, Water Dynamics worked very closely with our customer to develop automation programs to maximise their objectives. These were then incorporated into an irrigation program attuned to the customer’s properties’ needs using Mait monitoring and control technology.”

Efficient water management
Mait Industries is a national leader in the design and manufacture of hardware and software for monitoring and control systems for agriculture, turf, and environmental applications. Their horticultural products focus on being efficient with water management – not only saving water, but also applying the correct amount of water, at the correct time. This precise and automated timing increases crop quality and yield, reduces leaching of fertilisers, reduces crop stress and susceptibility to disease and pests. It is future-focussed to increases the long-term sustainability and profitability of enterprises, while ensuring best use of water as a community resource.

To provide ideal coverage for the two farms, the system chosen for this project was Mait iC24R for the remote radio control of 24VAC solenoids. This two-farm system can control 16 solenoids, or 16 pumps, or any combination of them. Multiple control or monitoring boards, as required for changing production needs, can be linked via cable where more than sixteen solenoids are required to be controlled, or where more sensors are required to be monitored. Radio transmission distances extend up to 8km line-of-sight, or further where multiple radio sites can act as repeaters.

Mait Industries iControl 24radio
Mait Industries iControl 24radio

The customer’s system includes 14 radio sites with 6.5m poles for aerials and solar panels. Complementing these are 14 stainless steel control cabinets complete with Aquative actuator valves designed for reliable operation with all types of water.
The installation, completed and commissioned by Water Dynamics in partnership with Mait, also incorporates two river pump radios for auto-starting of pumps, with pressure transducer to monitor pressure.

The entire system, delivered on time and on budget, is now operating with local service backup and optimisation, as required, by Water Dynamics.

David Bell advises;

“Our network of branches includes a blend of product experts, irrigation designers, and installers. Our staff are very well known in the industry, and some have directly owned and operated their own systems. This strong and unique regional capability means we understand local conditions and challenges, and have the relevant skills to provide the right products and technical advice to keep irrigation systems operating at peak efficiency all year round. Continuity is important in this dynamic business, in which uptime, updates and service are important to enterprises such as the customer in this project, to whom smooth continuity of production is an ongoing priority.”

If you require an irrigation solution, big or small, we encourage you to contact your local experts at Water Dynamics for advice, service, supply and installation. Call us today on 1800 571 812

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