Agriculture Technology and Adoption Centre (AgTAC) Projects i-RAT: a new tool for more efficient sugarcane irrigation

i-RAT: a new tool for more efficient sugarcane irrigation

I-Rat logo.

AgTAC researchers have successfully developed an irrigation rapid assessment tool (i-RAT) that is providing valuable economic and environmental guidance to sugarcane growers.

Dr Brian Collins

“This tool will make it easier for farmers to understand how they can save water and electricity without loss of cane yield under variable climates.”

“i-RAT harnesses the power of computer modelling and combines it with the knowledge and experience of local cane growers and advisors to enable rapid comparisons of thousands of combinations of farm management scenarios, which is not possible to test in the field.”

Photo of Brian Collins.

Furrow irrigation system

i-RAT has the capability of trialling various irrigation scenarios on-line, providing growers with quick and cheap comparisons of the outcomes both economically and environmentally. This allows farmers to make informed decisions about their current practices or any alternative options for their entire farm or individual paddocks.

i-RAT was developed to deliver relevant information to the end-user without the hassles of setting up a complex model, which would require considerable expertise and a large amount of data. Not only is this tool valuable to farmers, but it also benefits extension officers, agronomic advisors, representatives from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and financial institutions.

Phase 1 of the project covered the Burdekin region.

Phase 2 is now underway in the Mackay-Whitsunday region.

Operating from 2022 to 2024, the i-RAT project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

JCU and AgTAC logo
Agrtech logo
GBRF logo
Reef trust logo

Contact details

Dr Yvette Everingham

Professor, AgTAC Director, James Cook University


+61 7 4781 4475

More Details

Visit the i-RAT web page

i-RAT logo