A DairyNZ-funded report has highlighted practical ways to
help improve Otago and Southland's effluent compliance
Compliance data provided by regional councils nationally was
analysed by AgFirst Waikato's Nicola Waugh, who produced a
report identifying trends in the region's significant
effluent non-compliance. Better management practices around
storing and applying farm dairy effluent had been identified
as ways which might bring down significant non-compliance in
The information was being used in DairyNZ's Keep It Low
campaign, launched last summer to remind farmers to irrigate
effluent in the drier months, when conditions allowed, and to
get effluent ponds as empty as possible before winter. This
year, the message was the same, but with extra emphasis on
keeping application depths low with an effluent irrigation
system. Summer was a good time to lower effluent pond levels,
DairyNZ environmental extension specialist for
Otago/Southland, Donna Corbin, said.
''Ensuring you have sufficient storage next spring requires
action in the next couple of months. If you empty your pond
by the start of March, and apply effluent when conditions
allow after this, you will likely be in good shape in
September/October,'' she said.
Managing effluent application was very important to
non-compliance problems in Otago and Southland in the past
few years, especially with ponding.
A major cause of ponding was incorrect irrigation. The
nutrient benefits of effluent could be maximised, and
environmental risks minimised, by checking application rates
and equipment, Ms Corbin said.