Wireless water monitoring system keeps watchful eye on precious water supply
Saturday, 01 January, 2022
East Coast farmer Charlie Johnson sleeps a lot easier knowing his farm's water storage is in good shape. He and wife Debbie run a sheep, beef, cropping and grape growing operation on 400ha at Waipaoa, near Gisborne. In January this year they bought a Gallagher Wireless Water Monitoring System to monitor water storage on a neighbouring 180ha block acquired in 2013.
Charlie says while the new hill-country block was well subdivided, it relied heavily on dam water and lacked a decent reticulation system. "Summer here can get very dry, and if you don't have a good trough system you have to open up gates to let stock get to water. This makes it hard to achieve good pasture management."
With the help of local engineer Scott Harvey, the Johnsons installed a water system that provides ample capacity for increased stock numbers. Water from a bore on the home farm is now pumped via a 50mm mainline to two 25000 litre tanks located on the highest peaks of the new block. Water is then gravity fed to 30 new troughs.
During summer the two tanks are automatically topped up overnight. In winter, when water demand is lower, the tanks are topped up when required. The Gallagher Wireless Water Monitoring System was set up to monitor the higher of the two tanks. Water level information from a sensor inside the tank is transmitted via a solar-powered wireless communication unit on top of the tank, to a display unit mounted in the pump shed which is over 3km away.
Charlie rides past the pump shed every day. "I don't even have to get off my bike to check the display. It lets me know exactly how much water is in the tank without me having to go all the way up there. So it saves a lot of time and travel."
Up to nine tanks can be monitored by one display unit. The display features a large colour touch-screen and can store water level information to give the farmer a clear picture of historical tank levels over a 30-day period. The system highlights any potential water issues before they become a major problem. "It's awesome. If the display shows that the water level is falling faster than would be expected, you know straight away that you have a problem and you can fix it quickly."
Charlie says the Gallagher Wireless Water Monitoring System is excellent value for money. "Considering what it does and how good it is, Debbie and I were very surprised at how little it cost. We reckon it's paid for itself already. It's great for peace of mind because you can see straight away that your livestock have plenty of water and know that your water storage system is working properly. I would recommend this system to any farmer."
The Gallagher Wireless Water Monitoring System is easy to set up and operate. "It worked straight away and we had no teething problems at all."
If the Johnsons need any product advice, they call on their local Gallagher Territory Manager Ian Moorcock. "Ian's always there if we need him and he knows what he's talking about. He's also helped us set up a powerful Gallagher Energizer on the new block and that's doing a great job of keeping bulls under control. We like Gallagher gear because it's good and reliable."