Newry Irrigation Farm Planning Project 2020-21

Newry farmers are being offered whole farm plans at no cost as part of the next phase of the modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District pipeline.

These irrigation farm plans help farmers discover where they can save time, money and significant amounts of water.

While the construction of the Newry pipeline will be managed by Southern Rural Water, we are managing the Irrigation Farm Plan part of the modernisation program.

Farm businesses that have developed an Irrigation Farm Plan in recent years are encouraged to update that plan through this initiative.

Farm businesses that have an up to date Irrigation Farm Plan are more likely to gain extra efficiencies and financial dividends from the upgrade to the pipeline.

If you are interested in finding out more about this initiative please call our Land Program Coordinator Anthony Goode on 0438 507 184 or sign up to our mailing list below.

Sign up to fortnightly Irrigation Farm Plan Project Newsletter.

Keep up to date on what's happening with the project.

Newry Pipeline Upgrade

Hans Van Wees - Tinamba

Francis Gannon - Tinamba

Farm Planners Phil Matieson and Col Fountain
together with Andy Fullard from SRW discuss
the project and what farmers will see
before the end of year.

Catchment Management Authority involvement

We deliver the Sustainable Irrigation Program (SIP) to farm businesses in the West Gippsland region.

The aim of the SIP in West Gippsland is for a productive, efficient and sustainable irrigation industry supported by improved irrigation infrastructure. The program delivers farm planning, on-farm incentives, extension support, research and development to the Gippsland irrigation community with a focus on the Lake Wellington catchment area.

The health of the Gippsland Lakes and the region’s waterways, soils and biodiversity are protected by reducing irrigation losses, managing drainage and delivering salinity and nutrient management support. Resilience to drought and climate change is improved through increased water use efficiency whilst improving agricultural productivity.

By delivering this project to Newry farm businesses the SIP program working with local business and other government agencies will promote tangible, positive benefits for the Gippsland Lakes.

Water for Victoria Pivot irrigating in the MID

For more information on the MID2030 Phase 2 upgrade project, please contact Southern Rural Water’s project team:

Andy Fullard and Geoff Enever on
1300 139 510 or at midproject@srw.com.au

How will this work?

The irrigation farm planning process offers you the ideal opportunity to

  • consider changes to your irrigation supply (i.e. improved service levels from the MID2030 works)
  • identify the on-farm opportunities following the changes
  • plan for both short term measures and longer-term projects.  

As part of this project, you can work with a qualified irrigation farm designer (farm planner) to help you develop your plan. These irrigation farm plans help farmers discover where they can save time, money and significant amounts of water.

Even if your farm business has developed an Irrigation Farm Plan in recent years, you are encouraged to update that plan through this process.

The project will work closely with the SRW MID2030 engineering team to ensure alignment between farm plans and MID2030 project detailed designs. 

Planning a large number of farms in one targeted area concurrently will also provide a unique opportunity to identify cross-property efficiencies and measures 

The project area encompasses all irrigation properties that will be serviced by the Newry Pipeline. An indicative map of the project area is provided (left).

FAQs

Q1: When will this start?

The pipeline upgrade was announced in July 2020 when farm businesses affected by the project were notified by letter.

A steering committee for the Irrigation Farm Planning project was convened in July 2020 consisting of representatives from Ag Vic, Southern Rural Water and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

Farm businesses will be contacted personally after the announcement by members of the Sustainable Irrigation Team to answer any immediate questions and be offered an invitation to a on-line briefing with other farm businesses in mid-July.

Detailed design work will commence in September with on ground works commencing around June 2021.

Q2: Which farm businesses does this apply to?

The Irrigation Farm Planning Program applies to ALL farm businesses identified by Southern Rural Water as being serviced by the Newry Pipeline.

No other farm businesses are eligible for this program.

Q3: How much will this cost me?

All the costs of developing an Irrigation Farm Plan for your farm business will be borne by the WGCMA and SRW. 

Costs associated with any desired upgrades identified by the Irrigation Farm Plan will be borne by the farm business. 

At this stage there is no funding available to assist farm businesses with on-farm irrigation upgrades through the MID Irrigation Efficiency Incentives Program. 

Q4: Who will be developing the Irrigation Farm Plans?

The Irrigation Farm Plan will be developed by a qualified farm consultancy business identified through a tender process. This tender process will be finalised by August 2020.

Together with the Agriculture Victoria irrigation team and we will also help develop the plans to ensure it meets required standards.

Q5: Do I need to make major changes to my farm after the Irrigation Farm Plan process?

Changes identified though the Irrigation Farm Plan process are the responsibility of the individual farm business.

While changes identified will provide efficiencies for the business it is the choice of the farm business as to whether they proceed with those changes.

Q6. Do I have to get an Irrigation Farm Plan?

No, this program is not compulsory, however it is strongly encouraged that you take advantage of this opportunity to ensure you can maximise the benefits of the new pipeline.

As a minimum we encourage everyone to get a ‘Connections Plan’ which will provide a survey design of the new connection points on your property.

Q7. What if I already have a farm plan?

Depending on the currency of your farm plan, we can either update it or create a new one for you. As a minimum it is recommended that you get your plan updated to ensure the new connections to the pipeline integrate seamlessly into your existing irrigation layout.

Q7. Can I use an alternative farm planner to the one provided by the project?

The only way to get a 100% funded irrigation farm plan is through the contracted planner. Where irrigators what to use an alternative provider, the can do so at their own cost, but it is strongly recommended that they still conform to the timelines and processes of the Newry Farm Planning Project. Irrigators who want to use another provider will not be eligible for any other farm planning incentive through us during the 2020/21 financial year.

Q9. Will my farm plan be approved, and what about floodplain earthworks?

Yes, all Irrigation Farm Plans will be reviewed and approved by Agriculture Victoria, SRW and us.

Once your Irrigation Farm Plan is approved it provides you with an exemption from seeking a planning permit for earthworks on a floodplain that are shown on the Irrigation Farm Plan for a period of five years. NB: If the works are not completed in accordance with the approved farm plan then this exemption is void.

Q10. What about Native Vegetation clearing shown on the farm plan?

All farm plans that indicate the potential to impact on native vegetation will be referred to Wellington Shire Council for comment. Council will then recommend a course of action that best meets the needs of each individual case.

Q11. Who should I talk to for more information?

Every farm business will be allocated a case manager from the Agriculture Victoria irrigation team. Your case manager should be the first port of call for all issues relating to the farm planning program. Your case manager will contact you in late July to introduce themselves and organise a time for a first meeting.

Q12. I’m not happy with how my farm plan is progressing, who should I contact?

Contact our project manager, Anthony Goode (ph: 0438 507 184) anytime throughout the project if you are concerned about your plan or any other aspect of the program.