Orroroo is a small farming town 273 km north of Adelaide on the southern edge of the Flinders Ranges. But the first European farmers to settle the area in 1844 saw no rain for 17 months and sold their station for a pittance in disgust. The town’s located only a few kms from Goyder's Line, the boundary separating drought affected country from arable land, established by Surveyor General George Goyder in 1865.
In other words, Orroroo is dry. Very dry. So, when the District Council of Orroroo Carrieton went looking for a contractor to design and install a replacement irrigation system on the Orroroo town oval, they needed an irrigation system that could deliver the goods in arid conditions on thin, erosion prone soil.
The oval’s old manual irrigation system wasn’t up to the job. It was time consuming to operate and wasn’t providing uniform coverage, so the oval was patchy and uneven, dangerous for players, and harsh on knees.
The council wanted fully automated irrigation that would give them healthy, even turf. They needed to be able to apply fertiliser through the system. And they wanted a user-friendly modern system easy to operate and maintain, because Orroroo’s remote location means irrigation specialists and spare parts aren’t available instantly.
Agritech Irrigation from Waikerie won the contract to install the irrigation and brought in irrigation specialist John Harvie to design the new system. Darren Riggs from Nelson Australia supported Agritech to win the bid, visiting the site to present the Hunter irrigation system’s capabilities to Council staff and demonstrate wi-fi control. The Nelson Australia team are experienced irrigation experts, and are happy to meet with clients, answer questions, and spend time exploring irrigation options to come up with the ideal solution for the project.
John specified Hunter I-40 rotor sprinklers for their reliability, uniformity, and efficiency. Durable materials and a thick rubber cover, to prevent injury, makes the I-40 one of the most popular irrigation choices for stadiums around the world. It’s built to last in tough conditions, so John knew it could handle Orroroo’s harsh sun and corrosion from the saline soil. He paired the I-40 with the Hunter ACC2 controller for flexibility and remote management using Hunter’s Centralus cloud platform.
Installing the new system had its challenges. John Harvie explains why. “It wasn’t straightforward to place the main irrigation line because of constraints from access roads and difficult terrain. We ended up running the main line inside the perimeter of the oval, and space was tight because of existing pipes.”
Once the system was installed, Darren travelled to Orroroo to help Agritech program the controller and set up automated watering schedules. Flow sensors warn grounds staff of any overflows or underwatering, with alerts sent straight to their phone. If a pipe breaks, the smart system automatically shuts down the valve to that section of irrigation, preventing water wastage or damage to the grounds.
John explains his irrigation ethos, “I’m a big believer in adhering to Irrigation Australia’s standards, aiming for a minimum of 85% uniformity in irrigation coverage in my designs. That gives more even growth, which in an oval makes for less injuries for players and a more aesthetically pleasing green for spectators.”
“Nelson Australia believe in high standards too, and they offer great service and technical support when you need it. When you buy Hunter products from Nelson you get dual support from their team and from Hunter, which is great. Also, because Nelson does irrigation projects all around Australia, they’re able to give insights into what others are doing. It’s good to be able to talk to them about any concerns I might have, as they’re bound to have come across a similar situation somewhere else.”
“Irrigation projects are much easier when you have good support. I’ve worked with Darren and the Nelson Australia team for a long time. I’ve confidence in them, their staff stick around because the business is professional and well run, they support the irrigation industry, and they can’t do enough for you.”
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