Improving farm dairy effluent management!
Dairy effluent and how it is managed has been the cause of much frustration and reputational damage of the dairy industry within New Zealand. As a farmer representative on the Waikato executive of Federated Farmers I became very concerned with some comments that I had received on this topic. These ranged from "We've been discussing this for the last 10 years and we will probably be in the same position in another 10 years" to on the more positive side of "If more farmers learned how to harness the potential of these nutrients they could save a lot of money and reduce their environmental impact all at the same time". How we bridge this gap has been a question many have asked but none have answered. The average age of New Zealand dairy farm owners is now 58 years. Assuming that most of these farmers have farmed most of their working life, these farmers have seen the rules regarding how to manage effluent change markedly over the years. Such systems range from no system (straight to water way) in the 1970's; to barrier ditches; to 2 pond oxidation systems in the 1980's; to small sump and pump to land in the 1990's till now; to the current advice of large storage with pump to land. The result is that many are sceptical and cynical that investment to become compliant today will only require more investment to become compliant in a few years time. The purpose of this study is three-fold. The first is to investigate how it is we have got to this stage that we are at now, i.e. increasing levels of non compliance throughout the country. The second is to investigate what is being done by industry organisations to rectify the situation and the third is to obtain a farmers view on effluent best practice and the relationship this has with compliance.... [Show full abstract]