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Published: 2011-04-01 00:00:00

More than a tenth of the region’s dairy farmers have attended a one day effluent expo, organised by Waikato Regional Council and sponsored by DairyNZ.

The expo was the first of its kind to be held in the country, with 30 organisations represented at Mystery Creek on Tuesday. Each has indicated to the council that they have a number of farmers requiring follow-up, on-site consultations.

The turnout of more than 500 farmers showed the dairy sector was keen for high quality information to help them manage effluent, says expo organiser Kate Ody, a council environmental farming systems advisor.

She said very positive feedback from exhibitors and farmers meant consideration was being given to holding the expo again next year.

“Dairy farmers have been coming to us seeking effluent storage solutions and the people who turned out for the expo told us the event gave them the information they’d been looking for in one place.

“Our aim was to encourage dairy farmers to assess their current effluent system to determine if they are fit-for-purpose. For those whose systems needed improvement, the expo showed farmers some of the options available to them,” Ms Ody said.

“More than 10 per cent of the region’s 4,500 dairy farmers attended the expo and the majority of them showed they were hungry for information and were keen to make improvements to their system.

There was significant interest in the pond storage calculator and huge demand for free consultations with rural professionals using it to assess the needs of individual farms.

Developed by Massey University, the pond storage size calculator was originally the brainchild of Horizons Regional Council, and has since been revised for Waikato conditions. Seminars were held throughout the expo on its application.

“As a result of the expo, many farmers now better appreciate that management of the farm has a big part to play in helping to determine their storage needs. In some cases, making a change on the farm might negate the need to increase the pond size and save the farmer thousands of dollars,” Ms Ody said.