New Zealand — Waituna Dairies in Waimate

Maximum Effi­cien­cy with Bauer’s VRI 

Usually the VRI system (Vari­able Rate Irri­ga­tion) is used in arable farming to provide dif­fer­ent crops within one field, with the exact pre­cip­i­ta­tion rate adapted to the special need of the plants. In New Zealand however, 99 percent of VRI systems are used on pasture, just like on Waituna Dairies. The argu­ments for this are convincing.

On Leigh and Alan Gibson’s farm in the east of the South Island 750 dairy cows graze on 200 hectares of pasture. The Gibsons pur­chased the prop­er­ty near Waimate 2 ½ hours drive south of Christchurch, four years ago to convert it into a modern dairy farm.

At the highest level with VRI and SmartRain

It was clear from the start that this would also require a modern irri­ga­tion system – sophis­ti­cat­ed, effi­cient and reli­able, indi­vid­ual and adapted exactly to the special require­ments of Waituna Dairies, such as:

  • Elim­i­nat­ing sat­u­ra­tion in some areas
  • Apply higher irri­ga­tion rates where mois­ture deple­tion is high
  • Reduc­ing run off on slope areas to a minimum in order to comply with regulations
  • To manage efflu­ent applications
  • Keep water/effluent off laneways, which would sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce annual maintenance
  • Protect water­ways with appro­pri­ate setback dis­tances, which is also a crit­i­cal com­pli­ance requirement
  • Elim­i­nate non-com­pli­ance cost
Bauer Pivots and VRI

The ideal choice for Waituna Dairies farm

Due to unsat­is­fac­to­ry results of pod style irri­ga­tion, installed by the pre­vi­ous owners of the farm, the Gibsons (in the picture on the left) checked alter­na­tive solu­tions. In course of their research, they also con­sult­ed the Bauer dealer Kirk Irri­ga­tion Ltd, and were com­plete­ly con­vinced of their exper­tise: Weigh­ing all the avail­able methods, the Gibsons deter­mined that a two pond efflu­ent system, Bauer Pivots and VRI were the ideal choice for man­ag­ing their Waituna Dairies farm. This has not only improved control of irri­ga­tion, but also, improved efflu­ent man­age­ment on site.

Through most of the year, efflu­ent is inject­ed into the pivot at 30%, togeth­er with 70% water. However, due to consent con­di­tions and their buffer storage filling during the off season, there is often a require­ment to irri­gate with 100% efflu­ent appli­ca­tions. Alan stated that the Bauer VRI worked on this require­ment extreme­ly well, without any block­age, or other issues.

Alan Gibson Deep Creek R2 Final Layout
Smar­tRain remote control

High­tech for precise farm management

Both Leigh & Alan were very impressed with the “Smar­tRain” remote man­age­ment package, which inter­faces with the Bauer VRI package seam­less­ly. The ease of use, respon­sive­ness, and precise man­age­ment were all very desir­able fea­tures for the package select­ed to manage this farm. Another impor­tant feature, which drew Alan to the VRI system, was the ability to use desktop, laptop, and smart­phone with the Smar­train package, without com­pro­mis­ing on any man­age­ment feature. Alan has also been able to assign various staff on the farm certain “man­age­ment rights”, which allowed staff to access special features.

Having the ability to log infor­ma­tion for extend­ed periods, was also another inter­est­ing feature for Leigh & Alan, as all machine usage is logged on a daily basis. More impor­tant­ly, accu­rate records will soon be a require­ment which needs to be met by every farmer.

Bauer_VRI_SmartRain_Pivot_Weide_Neuseeland_Alan Gibson Matt Hayman
On step ahead

VRI – the perfect system for water and effluent

One of the huge ben­e­fits of the Bauer VRI system is that both water and efflu­ent appli­ca­tions have been con­sid­ered. This is where Bauer’s design con­cepts vary some­what from com­peti­tor prod­ucts, as Bauer has equally con­sid­ered both water and efflu­ent appli­ca­tions. In addi­tion, Bauer con­tin­ues work to extend the system within the current oper­at­ing frame­work, in order to adapt it to cus­tomers’ needs all over the world.

Also, while VRI for pasture is quite atyp­i­cal, it turns out to be ideal for the Gibsons, and Waituna Dairies, as well as many other New Zealand farmers.

“I find the system a very useful tool for current oper­a­tions, allow­ing the flex­i­bil­i­ty to plan for future eco­nom­ic resource man­age­ment. While clas­si­cal usage on our site is based on pasture, in the future, crop­ping, cut and carry, and indoor housing will become more common. It is good to have a system which we know will also fit alter­na­tive man­age­ment models. Fur­ther­more we are cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing the use of EM mapping, a feature which is already an inte­gral part of Smar­tRain, in order to develop pre­scrip­tions based on soil profiles.”

Alan Gibson, Waituna Dairies (on the left side on the picture)