Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Waikato dairy farmers boosting effluent performance


Waikato dairy farmers boosting effluent performance


Having adequate storage to stop effluent being sprayed on to pasture at the wrong time is starting to become the new normal for Waikato dairy farmers, says the author of a report to Waikato Regional Council’s environmental performance committee.

“Ensuring they have adequate storage so that effluent isn’t irrigated to pasture when the ground is too wet to soak it up is crucial to protecting our waterways,” said compliance and education manager Rob Dragten.

“Irrigating at the wrong time risks effluent running off into rivers and streams, filling them up with bacteria, sediment and nutrients that can cause algae.”

But, speaking after his report was presented to the committee today, Mr Dragten said the council’s collaborative work with farmers and agriculture organisations, such as Fonterra and DairyNZ, was now starting to pay dividends for the environment.

“We estimate that if the average Hauraki dairy farm doesn’t have enough storage to avoid irrigating over crucial winter months some 600,000 litres of effluent per property will run off to waterways that empty into the Firth of Thames.

“Given there are hundreds of dairy farms on the plains, that would translate into many millions of litres of effluent a year getting into waterways in that area alone. And, in one round of farm visits recently in the wider region, we found more than a quarter of farms had no storage at all.

“So the efforts of many farmers and their industry organizations in Hauraki, and elsewhere in Waikato, to expand the amount of effective effluent storage in recent years is to be applauded. Having the right size storage for their property is becoming the new normal for many of the region’s dairy farmers, and good on them,” said Mr Dragten.

His report said compliance with regional effluent rules in the early 2000s was low, with many effluent management systems inadequate to prevent contamination of waterways.

In the last 10 years there had been substantial progress and it was now rare to see “blatant, long-standing issues” of the type that could cause particular problems with waterways and groundwater.

Lack of suitable effluent storage remained the biggest challenge but “the number of farms making this investment continues to grow and overall this change appears to be gaining momentum”, the report said.

The process of change had been helped by the dairy industry investing substantial resources into helping farmers comply with rules and lift their environmental game. The council has also been working one-on-one with farmers in areas with soils which present a greater risk of effluent getting into waterways or groundwater. If required, the council advises farmers to seek commercial advice on the right type of storage upgrade and gives them a timeline to implement improvements so that they can comply with rules 365 days of the year.

“The farmer response to this approach continues to be very positive,” said Mr Dragten.

He said some farmers questioned the environmental benefits to be gained from spending significant amounts on effluent storage upgrades. “But our figures show there is a real risk of very large concentrations of effluent getting into waterways if storage capacity is inadequate. That’s not helpful to the environment generally nor to our clean, green image on world markets. So storage upgrades are a genuinely worthwhile investment all round.

“We’re prepared to give farmers time to get appropriate advice on the best options for the storage of effluent on their properties. Advice should be taken from an industry-accredited dairy effluent systems designer.

“Increasingly the expectation of the dairy sector is that farmers need to make sure they comply with regional environmental protection rules.

“The council won’t shy away from taking appropriate enforcement action if people damage the environment because of a lack of adequate storage or inappropriate management,” said Mr Dragten

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced today that she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Bikes: Nats Plan $100 Million For Urban Cycleways

Prime Minister John Key has today announced $100 million in new funding will be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres. More>>

ALSO:

New Tax Bracket, Child Poverty Fund: Greens Launch Billion Dollar Plan To Reduce Child Poverty

The Green Party has launched a billion dollar package to significantly reduce child poverty in New Zealand. The details of the plan were released at the party’s campaign launch in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news