A Rhodes Grass hay enterprise has been successfully established in the Pilbara utilising 60 to 80 ML/day surplus water from below water table mining to irrigate 1160 hectares of land with 26 centre pivots. Our advanced forecasting Water Scheduling Model is being used to schedule this large multi-pivot agricultural operation in the north-west of WA. The highly accurate model forecasts the crops water requirement five days in advance so that water scheduling can be managed with comfort and security. AFS Agriculture, with joint venture partners, have designed the capacity to remotely control the agricultural operation and monitoring requirements which reduces the amount and cost of on-ground professional agricultural resources needed.
AFS Agriculture has template proforma and control system philosophies that were developed specifically to meet most environmental conditions required to undertake an irrigated agricultural operation where there are stringent requirements and/or particularly sensitive areas. These proforma Nutrient Irrigation Management Plan and Weed Management Plan (for example) have been used to gain approvals in a number of irrigation projects in sensitive environmental areas and reduce front-end approval cost and time to operations. Where practical the data is remotely captured telemetrically and recorded to load into existing environmental packages used by clients for their internal and external reporting requirements.
We have also designed a range of operating principles and manuals (Control Systems, SoP/SWP’s and OH&S Template Manuals & Procedures) that are compliant to contemporary operating environments and can be quickly and cost effectively adapted to the client’s specific needs. These are particularly important where agriculture co-exists with mining or other corporate agricultural activities.
Three irrigated agriculture projects are currently operating in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, covering approximately 3000 hectares of land utilising water abstracted from below watertable mining projects. Daily usage is expected to range between 100 and 200 megalitres per day in total, for the three enterprises. Currently they are mainly fodder/hay production enterprises, but further work is being undertaken with respect to alternative enterprises.