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Wetting front detector transfer of technology
Expanded Title:The Water Research Commission Project 1135 “Building Capacity in Irrigation Management with Wetting Front Detectors” (Stirzaker et al 2004) describes a new approach to irrigation management that embodies low cost and simplicity, deemed essential to breach the impasse of poor adoption. The above project demonstrated that irrigators were attracted to the Wetting Front detector (WFD) idea of improving their irrigation management. All of the 54 users of the technology reported that the WFD concept was easy to understand and 82% of users had a positive perception towards the detector after using it for a short time. The motivation for this technology transfer project is to ensure the device goes out into the marketplace with the benefit of the insights gained from the completed research conducted both in South Africa and Australia. For example the deployment of a WFD in centre pivot irrigation is very different from that in drip, both in depth of installation and interpretation of response. Furthermore we know that farmers easily discontinue the use of soil water monitoring tools, e.g. tensiometers, even though they have been promoted and supported for decades. A new tool requires support during the early stages of its release simply because it takes a certain amount of accumulated experience to find and work through the inevitable teething problems. The most fundamental insight gained from the research to date is that the WFD is best viewed as a learning tool. At first this seemed as a backwards step, because we are so used to the idea of technology ‘solving’ a problem. The whole mentality of “plug and play” or “turnkey” technology is that once the technology has been implemented the problem goes away. This scientific framework may work for the top echelon of farmers, but our view is that the learning model is better suited to the majority, because local knowledge and experience are important when dealing with a complex and dynamic issue like irrigation management. Our aim is to value, challenge and build on the existing skills of the farmer.
Date Published:05/04/2010
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Keywords:Technology
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Consultant
WRC Report No:KV 246/10
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0012-2
Authors:Stevens J; Stirzaker R
Project Leader:Stevens J
Project No:K8/599/4
Organizations:University of Pretoria
Document Size:9 116 KB
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