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Published: 2004-12-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato, Fonterra and Dexcel have launched a guide for farmers on managing dairy shed effluent in a collaborative effort to improve environmental outcomes from dairy farming.

The guide aims to provide best practice management guidelines for farmers as part of the Regional Action Plan for the dairy industry’s Clean Streams Accord signed in May last year by Environment Waikato and Fonterra.

As farm dairy shed effluent contains nutrients and harmful bacteria and other organisms, it is important to deal with effluent effectively so it does not affect waterways or groundwater. While a number of systems are available for treating effluent, the booklet provides management practices for the main systems used in the Waikato.

Farmers are advised to minimise the amount of effluent they produce to save money and improve treatment. Dairy farms produce about 50 litres per cow per day of effluent and washwater. Minimising the amount of effluent saved pumping costs, increasing storage capacity and retention time in pond treatment systems.

The booklet also includes information on the fertiliser value of effluent and nutrient management. It outlines the use of pond systems and land application systems and provides information on maintenance of irrigators and application rates as well as calculations for farmers to measure their effluent use.

More dairy farmers are using stand-off areas and feed pads to increase milk production, rather than increasing herd sizes and the booklet also covers their use. Effluent management on feed pads has caused problems for the Regional Council and expense for farmers to correct problems.

Fonterra’s Director of Shareholder Services, Barry O’Donnell welcomed the booklet as a useful tool for farmers in the Region, providing further assistance in managing an increasingly topical environmental concern.

Federated Farmers Dairy Farmers Chairman Kevin Wooding said the booklet was a good initiative which would help dairy farmers in improving their effluent management even further.
“This guide will help farmers get a good environmental outcome from their effluent systems, which means a good environmental outcome for the community as well.”

The guide will be posted to all dairy farmers and sharemilkers in the Region this week. Anyone wanting advice on how to manage their effluent treatment system should contact their Dexcel Consulting Officer. For information about rules for farm dairy effluent management, call Environment Waikato's Freephone 0800 800 401.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.