Taken December 2008, 50 Kilometres from Grenfell along the Mary Gilmore Way towards Barmedman, on the South West Slopes of NSW. This is part of of a new, very extensive agricultural venture. We were lucky enough to have the owner drop by as we were taking photos, and he explained a lttle of the venture to us.
He has a total of 1,000 acres divided into 10 acre ponds, which can be flooded from a very large bore-fed dam, at up to 80 megalitres a time. Each pond is slightly ‘roof-topped’ (sloped downwards from the centre to the edges) so it can be drained effectively. Each pond is flooded for 24 hours of less, then the water is moved on to the next pond. When the cycle is completed, the water is pumped back into the dam.
This is the first crop in the system, and this is the farmer’s first time growing corn. He currently has 100 acres (10 ponds) under cultivation, all corn. This pond has been flooded for 24 hours and the owner had come to move the water on to the next pond. This corn had not been irrigated this way before, and should not need flooding again before harvest. These crops are fertilised with bio solids. Yes, that means human waste.
The advantage of this system is that it suits our changing and variable weather patterns. If the crop does not need flooding, it isn’t. If there is heavy rain, the ponds act as a very large catchment area for water which can be pumped into the dam. Once collected in the dam, there is much less evaporation of valuable water than spread out across al the ponds, as there is much less surface area.