CottonInfo Field Demonstration Trial: Optimisation of application in tailwater backup systems

Date Issued:2023-08-18


In recent years the industry has increased their adoption of bankless channel or siphon-less irrigation systems. This is driven by a need to address labour resourcing, energy use, maangement efficiency and the reuse of tailwater.

In most bankless channel design, the field is split into bays and watered at a high flow rate. All furrows in a bay are irrigated at once without siphons or roto-bucks. While the most basic siphon-less systems principally remove the need for siphons and aim to minimise soil movement in the transition from siphon to siphon-less. There are different approaches being implemented, some with tail water reuse design and others that utilise existing tail drains and still pump tailwater.

The continuous reuse of tail water in adjacent bays can potentially reduce water loss from channels, reduce pumping costs and enhance efficiency of cultivation. Additionally, transitioning to a siphon-less or bankless channel design can enable higher flow rates through the field, this can minimise non uniformity and reduce deep drainabut irrigations may be more frequent. 

There has been limited research into the irrigation performance (application efficiency and distribution uniformity) of these designs, but the irrigators who are utilising some of these designs have found improved irrigation water use effiency.

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