Armidale Regional Council's Waste Water Treatment Plant and Reuse Farm has found a way to increase efficiency and reduce manual labour costs when maintaining crops grown at the farm through embracing a new centre pivot irrigation system.
The region's treated effluent, otherwise known as waste water, is used to water and fertilise the 129 hectares of pasture and 65 hectares of lucerne that is grown on the farm.
The crops draw the nutrients from the soil, effectively reusing effluent and biosolids. The hay that is produced from the lucerne crop is harvested from October through to April, and is available for the community to purchase during these months.
Council recently installed two centre pivot irrigators, with another one to go in next month.
Armidale mayor Ian Tiley said centre pivot irrigation has a low operation cost and increases efficiency through reducing human labour and WHS risk, while ensuring an even application of effluent over the land.
"The centre pivots can also be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world," Cr Tiley said.
"It's a positive step towards the future for the Reuse Farm."
The previous irrigation system that was being used has been in operation for the past 20 years and is starting to show its age.
"While it has served us well, it's time to embrace contemporary farming practices and modernise the way we do things," Cr Tiley said.
"We hope to eventually move to using eleven centre pivots, which will allow for more accurate and even disposal of effluent per hectare which will see our crops and pastures thrive."
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