Expo eyes the future of effluent

Do it once, do it right is a great guiding philosophy. Waikato Regional Council’s latest Effluent Expo at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton on Tuesday, October 17 will help farmers wanting to upgrade their effluent systems to do just that.

The expo will have stands featuring a host of effluent management system suppliers and advisors, including those from the council.

They can help farmers get the best out of their effluent as a resource but also to be compliant with rules designed to protect the environment.

On the compliance front, the council is aware some farmers can be worried that, despite best efforts and considerable expenditure on upgrading systems, they might be forced to do it all over again at some stage as circumstances and rules change.

But the farming services team notes current rules are well-established and science-based, with future proposed rules outlined in the Proposed Plan Change 1 in the Waikato and Waipa rivers catchments. Also, following some basics will help farmers future proof themselves regardless.

“The principles underlying effluent management rules align with current science,” says sustainable agriculture advisor Mark Gasquoine.

“This science shows that applying effluent to pasture when soil moisture is at suitable levels has a relatively low environmental risk.

“So farmers can help future-proof their properties by having systems that provide for a low risk approach.”

Also, the dairy industry’s Farm Dairy Effluent Design Standard and Code of Practice has been put together to address questions that farmers generally have around future-proofing their effluent systems. It outlines the expectations for all aspects of effluent systems.

“Any effluent system that is designed to code standards is going to meet regional council requirements now and is likely to meet any near-future requirements,” says Mark.

“It’s great to see so many farmers making an effort to manage effluent better, but as a region we still have some way to go.”

This is borne out by the latest compliance statistics for the Waikato region based on monitoring of almost 1200 dairy farms.

While the vast bulk of farms rated in the three higher compliance categories, 24 per cent scored only partial compliance and nine per cent had significant non-compliance.

“The findings particularly re-inforce the need for farmers to ensure they have adequate storage to comply 365 days a year and this will continue to be a focus for our one-on-one work with farmers,” says farm services team leader Stuart Stone.

For more information visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/2017-effluent-expo/


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