Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed two new investments in smart irrigation projects in the latest Sustainable Farming Fund round.
The first project, led by Irrigation New Zealand, will receive $294,000 to identify the benefits of irrigation good management practice and barriers to uptake.
The results of this will then be used in strategies to overcome these barriers and improve practices.
“Better use of irrigation has economic and environmental benefits for farmers and wider communities, and this project will help drive that,” says Mr Guy.
The three year project will begin in July 2017 and will have a national focus.
The second project looks at the effects of irrigation on the water holding capacity of soil. This project will receive $296,000 and will be led by Federated Farmers, representing a large proportion of farmers in Canterbury.
“This study will help develop new knowledge about soil changes under medium to long-term irrigation. This will feed into a range of tools and models for irrigation scheduling, and estimations of groundwater recharge and nutrient leaching.
“This will help both farmers and regional councils by enabling more effective and efficient use of irrigation water, reducing drainage and loss of soluble nutrients.
“Both these projects will help us use water better and protect the environment.
“This Government is a strong supporter of modern irrigation and the potential it has. A recent report by NZIER found that irrigation contributes $2.2 billion to the national economy and this has the potential to increase further.”
About the Sustainable Farming FundThe Sustainable Farming Fund supports community-led projects that build productivity and resilience in the primary sector. Projects are led by farmers, growers and foresters who come together to tackle a shared problem or opportunity. Sustainable Farming Fund projects trial and apply new practices to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits in the primary sector and the community. Funding rounds are held annually and applicants are eligible for up to $200,000 per year for a maximum of three years. The next funding round is scheduled to open in August. This year, MPI has approved 20 new projects for funding, totalling $6.64 million. The approved projects will provide benefits across a range of primary sectors including apiary, aquaculture, arable, forestry, horticulture, dairy, fibre, meat and water. A full list of the successful projects will be published on the MPI website on 16 March 2017. For more information about the Sustainable Farming Fund visit mpi.govt.nz/sff