SA COFFIE pilot progressing well

Posted 05 June 2018.

With the peak irrigation season now finished for another year SA River Murray irrigators are being encouraged to consider participation in the pilot of the Commonwealth On-Farm Further Irrigation Efficiency (COFFIE) Program.

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) project manager Michael Cutting said the design of the pilot program enabled applications to be turned around quickly meaning new applications could potentially be implemented in the upcoming winter/spring period.

“There are no funding rounds which means each application is considered on its own merits and directly against the program eligibility criteria,” he said.

“So assuming the application meets the requirements we have an expectation of it being assessed in a very timely manner.

“We would anticipate that applications which meet the eligibility requirements that are submitted in the coming months can be assessed and approved projects will be implemented prior to the next irrigation season,” Mr Cutting said.

While all projects must include an irrigation efficiency component to be eligible, additional farm productivity improvements can also be incorporated into a project proposal which has been well received by participating irrigators to date.

Monash winegrape grower John Rapisarda recently completed a project through the COFFIE Pilot and has been very happy with the outcomes it has delivered to date.

“On one of our properties the pump was over-sized since converting from overhead to drip irrigation which meant it was challenging to meet the properties of different varietal water requirements especially early in the season and during vintage,” he said.

“The new pump has allowed us to schedule irrigation based on matching crop water requirements that has provided significant water savings and improved fruit quality.

“At another property we have replaced sections of underperforming drip tube and optimised the operation of the overhead system which is used for frost protection.

Mr Rapisarda said it was great that the COFFIE Pilot provided an opportunity for smaller irrigators like himself to be involved.

“While our project is only small in scale the funding has enabled us to address limitations in our irrigation system which will deliver lasting water savings and farm productivity improvements,” he said.

For more information about the COFFIE Pilot Program visit the Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin webpage: or contact the Berri Natural Resources Centre on 8580 1850.

The SA COFFIE pilot is being funded by the Commonwealth Government and delivered by the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, supported by Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin region.

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