Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 is tackling the challenge of reduced water availability by focusing on practical, cost effective strategies to improve the water productivity of Australian cropping and pasture irrigators. The project is a partnership between the major irrigation industries of cotton, dairy, sugar, rice and grains, research organisations and farmer groups. The project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, round four. 

The project has 14 sub-projects covering three components:

  • Development of new irrigation technologies including new sensors, advanced analytics to improve irrigation scheduling and strategies to reduce water storage evaporation.
  • Cost effective, practical automated irrigation systems for cotton, rice, sugar and dairy.
  • A network of 36 farmer led optimised irrigation sites located on commercial farms across Australia.  

The objective of Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 is to improve the profit of over 4000 cotton, dairy, rice, grains and sugar irrigators.


Research and demonstration projects funded through Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 are listed below.

  1. Plant-based sensing for cotton irrigation - Dr Hiz Jamali, CSIRO;
  2. Evaporation mitigating solution for Australian cotton water storages - Prof. Greg Qiao, University of Melbourne;
  3. New tech integrated smart sensing & automation for cotton - Dr Rodrigo Filev Maia, Deakin University. (New tech integrated smart sensing & automation for cotton Key findings);
  4. Smart Irrigation control for water and labour savings in rice growing systems - Assoc. Prof John Hornbuckle, Deakin University;
  5. Precision automated furrow irrigation for the Australian sugar industry - Dr Malcolm Gillies University of Southern Queensland;
  6. Precise real-time automated cotton irrigation for improved water productivity - Dr Joseph Foley and Dr Alison McCarthy, University of Southern Queensland;
  7. Scaling irrigation management to support whole farm operations - Andy McAllister, Agriculture Victoria;
  8. Gwydir Valley demonstration of the application of the latest digital technologies for precise automated irrigation - Lou Gall, Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association;
  9. What is my yield gap? Maximising water productivity - Cath Lescun, Dairy Australia;
  10. Beyond Water Smart: Advancing Dairy Irrigation System Performance - Dr James Hills, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture;
  11. Improved irrigation and system selection for increased sugarcane productivity and profitability - Michael Scobie, University of Southern Queensland;
  12. Key Learning Sites Southern – Making the most of water - Alex Schultz, DPI NSW;
  13. Cross Sectoral Integration and Extension - Lou Gall, Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association;
  14. Improving the science of water footprinting - Assoc. Prof Guy Roth, University of Sydney.

Research partners:

Smarter Irrigation for Profit Phase 2 is led by CRDC in partnership with Dairy Australia, Sugar Research Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, AgriFutures Australia, CSIRO, University of Melbourne, University of Southern Queensland, Deakin University, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, NSW DPI, Agriculture Victoria and Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association. Supporting partners include farmer groups and commercial irrigation providers. 

Media releases:

Collaboration and innovation provides big benefits for Australian irrigators



For more:

For more information contact:
Cathy Phelps, Project Leader,
T: 0439 555 001