Farmers should seek advice on effluent systems
Dairy farmers encouraged to seek advice on effluent systems
3 September 2008
Environment Bay of Plenty, Federated Farmers and Fonterra are encouraging dairy farmers to use the resources available in the Bay of Plenty region to get their effluent systems in shape.
Environment Bay of Plenty Pollution Prevention Team Leader Steve Pickles said the council had seen an improvement in effluent compliance. Mr Pickles looked forward to working with farmers and continuing to build on last season’s results.
“Last year 76 per cent of dairy farmers had fully compliant effluent systems. This was up from 68 per cent in the 2005/06 season. A further 15 per cent had systems with only minor issues. However it’s the remaining 9 per cent of farmers who we want to work with to ensure their systems are complying.”
“We want these farmers to tap into the experts available locally. They can seek help from our team, or from any of the other organisations, before our staff carry out monitoring checks to ensure that they’re meeting standards,” Mr Pickles said.
Common problems include:
Irrigation systems including
maintenance of the pumps, connections and irrigator
Pond systems including de-sludging, weeding and effluent levels
Dairy shed maintenance including guttering and drain pipes, stormwater diversion systems, and sumps.
Mr Pickles said Environment Bay of Plenty’s pollution prevention team could advise local farmers on all these areas and help them to minimise the impact of their effluent systems on the environment.
“Our advice is to keep a regular eye on the whole system and ensure your staff are trained well. It’s better to ask for advice early, before the compliance checks, rather than waiting for us to find problems during the inspection,” Mr Pickles said.
Alan Law, Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty President, said DairyNZ’s ‘Farm Enviro Walk’ tool was a good way to assess if an effluent system was up to scratch.
“The Farm Enviro Walk is a quick and easy method of assessing your farm and can help pinpoint any potential problems ahead of Environment Bay of Plenty’s monitoring,” Mr Law said
Barry Harris, Chairman of Fonterra’s Sustainability Leadership Team, said the recent signing of the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord in the Bay of Plenty was met with strong support from local farmers and the community.
“Let’s keep up the momentum and establish Bay of Plenty as a strong regional leader in sustainable farming,” Mr Harris said.
Environment Bay of Plenty will send out letters notifying farmers of the inspections in September. Inspections of effluent systems will be carried out from October onwards.
“In addition to the routine annual inspections, staff also undertake unannounced audits throughout the season, so it is really important that farmers keep their systems up to scratch at all times” Mr Pickles said.
Farmers can contact Federated Farmers, Environment Bay of Plenty, DairyNZ and Fonterra for advice and support: