Sustainable Farming Funds for SMART Irrigation
16 March 2017
Irrigating farmers will soon be growing ‘more crop per drop’ thanks to IrrigationNZ and the government’s Sustainable
Farming Fund (SFF).
Minister for Primary Industries, Hon. Nathan Guy, announced the successful SFF projects this week, with IrrigationNZ
awarded funding to develop its ‘SMART Tools and Tips for Irrigators’ project.
IrrigationNZ CEO, Andrew Curtis says the project will enable farmers and growers to make a significant improvement in
irrigation efficiency and for potential irrigators to have access to comprehensive information on developing irrigation.
“We know from working with irrigators, and through analysing Farm Environment Plan audits, that environmental
compliance, and particularly achieving Good Management Practise (GMP), are the biggest challenges faced by the sector.
The Smart Tools and Tips project will be instrumental in helping irrigators achieve impending GMP regulatory
requirements, while at the same time, improving their yield quality and quantity and minimising their operating costs.”
Curtis estimates $1.5bn in farm gate value could be created from the successful implementation of Irrigation GMP and
this project “has a significant role in helping to achieve this.”
“The SMART Tools and Tips project compliments the investment government has already made in irrigation infrastructure
development and modernisation to get ‘new water’ to the farm gate. It also supports the investment they’ve made in
Freshwater Management, ensuring New Zealand’s freshwater continues to support a full range of community values.”
Irrigating farmers were coming under increased scrutiny around their water use efficiency and the SMART project would
provide them with the knowledge and practical tools to be more efficient, without impacting growth, productivity and
reliability of supply.
“Farmers and growers make a significant investment in irrigation infrastructure, but in order to benefit from that
investment, they need to really understand how to maximise its use and efficiency. The SMART project will give farmers
and growers practical tools to help them make a difference in terms of efficiency, productivity and environmental
The project attracted $294,000 and will enable IrrigationNZ to work with a range of irrigator user groups to understand
the barriers and benefits to the uptake of Irrigation GMP; and then develop programmes and strategies to overcome the
barriers and build on the benefits. It will also enable IrrigationNZ to convert its current suite of ‘traditional’
knowledge resources and training into an e-learning format.
“Farmers and growers are busy people and getting them off-farm for workshops can be a challenge. Having all of our key
resources available on line will ensure they can develop an informed and clearer understanding of how to operate within
new GMP regulatory requirements. Ultimately, it will increase their efficiency gains, increase skills and capability and
improve sustainability and reliability of supply.”