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Complexity of increasing water use efficiency on irrigated dairy farms



Complexity of increasing water use efficiency on irrigated dairy farms



Australian Journal of Dairy Technology 59(2): 135-137



The dairy industry is a major user of water in northern Victoria and is striving to increase the efficiency of water use to meet community and government expectations. While there is a wide range in estimated water use efficiency (WUE) on irrigated dairy farms, measuring and improving efficiency are more complex than in the grains and horticultural industries. The underlying reasons for this complexity and constraints to improving on-farm WUE are discussed. While changes in irrigation water price, availability and policy will impact on the profitability of dairy farms and drive changes in water use, sound technical information on which to base changes in farming systems is lacking in some circumstances. Voluntary adoption of 'best management' practices is unlikely to deliver the efficiencies sought by the industry or other stakeholders, and appropriate policy instruments will need to be implemented by government, industry and others involved in natural resource management.

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