On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency - Lucerne


Brett Dixon
Sdi area: 20 Ha
Average yield: 22 Tonne/Ha
Water usage: 7 Ml/Ha


Northern Victorian dairy farmer Brett Dixon understands the need to maximise his water use efficiency. It was with this in mind that he installed 20 Ha of sub surface drip irrigation to grow lucerne in 2012.

Since 2012 Brett has achieved very impressive yield results, an average of 22 tonnes per hectare of dry matter using 7 Megalitres of water. According to farm consultant Mark Emonson of TPC consulting, this is 3 times the average water use efficiency of the dairy industry in northern Victoria.


The system is carefully designed so that the peak water requirement – that is, the amount of water the crop will consume per day at peak growing and evaporation periods, can be delivered. For the Dixon system, there is a capacity to apply 12 mm of irrigation water per day.

Mr Dixon made the decision to install a Netafim sub surface drip irrigation system. Netafim pioneered the development of drip irrigation in Israel in the 1960’s. Since then, the company has seen a global revolution in the use of drip irrigation systems for many different crops.

For Mr Dixon, there are three main positives. “The sub surface drip system has allowed me to achieve higher yields and reduce my water use. It also requires less labour to operate. On a busy dairy farm with a significant feed requirement, and with the cost of water increasing, these factors have made the decision to install drip irrigation pay off”.


The development of the sub surface drip irrigation system was part of the Federal Government’s On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program. Under the program, water entitlement was returned to the Federal Government to help fund the development of the system.


for futher information download the pdf


Site by mantis.