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Effluent Monitoring Technology - Trial on NZ Dairy

22 May 2008


Effluent Monitoring Technology - Trial on NZ Dairy Farms

MediaLab plans to trial an Effluent Monitoring Application on a wide range of dairy farms throughout New Zealand. The application is a software tool developed to provide farmers with real time, property specific information to help monitor and manage dairy effluent.

Farm effluent management is becoming more challenging as dairy farms intensify and become larger operations. This application is designed to simplify the system and to provide decision support for the management of dairy effluent including irrigation and the monitoring of nitrates.

“We are pleased to be moving to the next stage of development and see great potential for this solution,” says Bridgit Hawkins, Programme Manager, MediaLab. Essentially we are harnessing technology to benefit farmers and the environment. “

“The effluent monitoring application is a proof of concept system and we are progressing to develop the solution to be tested on dairy farms over the next six to twelve months. The plan is to take into account feedback from a variety of farms on the benefits of the application, ease of use and the resulting improvements to farm practice.“

The application was recently demonstrated as part of a Massey farm field day on the latest dairy effluent farm research. Sean Newland, Sustainable Dairying Strategist for Fonterra presented, and comments, “Good effluent management is a very real issue for some dairy farmers and is vital to the sustainable growth of our industry. Fonterra is keen to see more practical tools developed for farmers in this area and will be watching MediaLab’s work with interest.”

MediaLab works with partners to develop integrated solutions and has developed this application in conjunction with Massey University, Telecom and BayCity Technologies, supported by the MAF Sustainable Farming Fund.

The full effluent monitoring solution could potentially lead to; reduced compliance costs, reductions in effluent management infringements, improved pasture growth and productivity and a cleaner environment for all New Zealanders.

Currently information is collected and interpreted on contributing factors such as pond and soil moisture levels, irrigator function and local weather conditions. Eventually the application could be developed to include information on fertiliser application and pasture growth. Information collected at the farm monitoring site would be distributed via Telecom’s 027 mobile network and be accessible to farmers via website, email or text message.

The Effluent Management Application will be shown at the Mystery Creek Field Days in June and Bridgit will present at the TUANZ Rural Broadband Symposium on 3 July 2008.

- Ends -

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