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Gypsy Day – Effluent Management Doesn’t Stop at Farm Gate

Gypsy Day – Effluent Management Doesn’t Stop at the Farm Gate

Waikato Regional Council is reminding dairy farmers of the importance of good stock effluent management during the upcoming Gypsy Day on 1 June.

That’s the day when thousands of cows will be transported from one farm to another, meaning potential for effluent to spill on to roads creating hazardous driving conditions.

To help reduce the amount of stock effluent produced in transit, the council stresses the importance of preparing animals prior to transport, including not giving them green feed for 4 – 6 hours before their journey.

Pauline Kean owns a 200 acre dairy farm near the foot of the Kaimai Ranges. She knows the value and benefits of taking a proactive and careful approach to the environment and animal welfare.

For example, over the past 24 years she’s planted some 17,000 native, fruit and other tree varieties to produce a stunning vista. She also lines her cow yards with a thick rubber matting “so that the cows are warm in the winter time, and they don’t get sore hooves when standing on hard concrete”.

With cows producing between 60-80 kilogrammes of effluent on a normal day, Pauline is aware that the stress animals face when being herded into the race for transport on Gypsy Day can lead to even more effluent than normal.

So, before transporting them, which happens about four times a year, Pauline stands her stock off green feed in an adjacent special holding paddock before transferring them to her padded yards.

By standing off the stock, she says, animals “are more comfortable and travel better with an empty stomach” while “cleaner roads is a better image for the dairy farmers”.

Less effluent on the road is also better for the environment generally and lessens road safety and health risks associated with spilt effluent.

Any farmers or sharemilkers wanting more advice can call the council’s Isy Kennedy on 0800 800 401 or email isy.kennedy@waikatoregion.govt.nz

2. Lance McLaggan (Taupiri)

GYPSY DAY – EFFLUENT MANAGEMENT DOESN’T STOP AT THE FARM GATE

Waikato Regional Council is reminding dairy farmers of the importance of good stock effluent management during the upcoming Gypsy Day on 1 June.

That’s the day when thousands of cows will be transported from one farm to another, meaning potential for effluent to spill on to roads creating hazardous driving conditions.

To help reduce the amount of stock effluent produced in transit, the council stresses the importance of preparing animals prior to transport, including not giving them green feed for 4-6 hours prior to transporting.

Farming for over 30 years and with more than 700 cows, Taupiri farmer Lance McLaggan knows the value and benefits of taking a proactive and careful approach to the environment and care of his animals.

With such a large number of cows, Lance will prepare his cows at least seven times throughout the year for transport off his property.

Cows produce between 60-80 kilogrammes of effluent on a normal day, and when under pressure during transport can produce even more effluent than normal. This is exacerbated if the cow has just come off green feed and can lead to more effluent spills on the road.

Less effluent on the road is better for the environment and generally reduces road safety and health risks associated with spilt effluent.

So before transporting stock Lance stands them in a paddock with minimal green feed and gives his cows hay and water if standing for longer than four hours.

“It’s for the stock’s own benefit,” he says. “They don’t have a big belly trying to walk up the race on to the truck, making it easier to load them.”

Also, with less green feed in their belly, they are easier to work with, and move better, says Lance.

Any farmers or sharemilkers wanting more advice on preparing stock for transport can call the regional council’s Isy Kennedy on 0800 800 401 or email isy.kennedy@waikatoregion.govt.nz

3. Andrew Lennox (Tirau and Waotu)

Gypsy Day – Effluent Management Doesn’t Stop at the Farm Gate

Waikato Regional Council is reminding dairy farmers of the importance of good stock effluent management during the upcoming Gypsy Day on 1 June.

That’s the day when thousands of cows will be transported from one farm to another, meaning potential for effluent to spill on to roads creating hazardous driving conditions.

To help reduce the amount of stock effluent produced in transit, the council stresses the importance of preparing animals prior to transport, including not giving them green feed for four to six hours before their journey.

Apart from the traditional Gypsy Day, May is a big month for transporting stock with young stock being shifted or going to the works.

Tirau and Waotu Dairy farmer Andrew Lennox knows about standing stock off green feed prior to transporting. He has a strong view about ensuring there is a “positive image of dairy farmers”, and says he doesn’t like to see effluent on the roads.

Andrew has been farming for over 35 years and operates two dairy farms with a collective total of 1000 milking cows plus replacements.

Andrew used to stand his cows off green feed on the same day as the cows were transported, but nowadays, he keeps his stock in a holding paddock overnight prior to transporting the next day. For a longer trip he will feed the cows hay with water.

Stock is transported on and off his property up to 20 times a year and Andrew says that apart from “wanting a good image for my industry, keeping effluent off the road is a road safety issue”. He also notes that his stock travel better with less in their gut.

Another motivation for doing things right is that Andrew remembers the death of a motorcyclist in 1992 due to slippery stock effluent on the road.

Any farmers or sharemilkers wanting more advice on preparing stock for transport can call the regional council’s Isy Kennedy on 0800 800 401 or email isy.kennedy@waikatoregion.govt.nz


ends

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