Water use by crops and pastures in southern NSW


This Primefact provides information on the key points to consider:

  • Agricultural production seeks both high total water use (TWU) and high water use efficiency (WUE).
  • High total water use influences the environment through minimising deep drainage, and associated waterlogging and salinity.
  • Potential or water limited yield of wheat is about 20 kg/ha/mm of seasonal water use, and for broad-leaf crops is about 15 kg/ha/mm of seasonal water use (after deducting 100 to 120 mm).
  • The water limited yield of annual pasture dry matter production is about 30 kg/ha/mm (after deducting about 30 mm).
  • Potentially, dryland lucerne can yield about 12 kg/ha of dry matter for each mm of annual rainfall.
  • Poor WUE can indicate management problems or constraints imposed by soil, nutrition, pests or disease.
  • Identifying and addressing these agronomic constraints is the path to improved WUE.


Primefact 958

Published: Oct 2009