Efficient effluent systems
Note Number: AG0406
Published: October 2002
Updated: March 2009
Objective: To return dairy effluent to the land in a controlled, sustainable and cost-effective manner.
Collection and Conveyance
A process to retain all effluent from the milking area or feedpad facility to enable it to be delivered efficiently to a pondage system or pasture application system.
1. Does your effluent system provide a method for collection of all effluent generated from the milking shed, feedpad facility and associated yarding areas?
2. If pumping from the shed or feedpad is there an opportunity to separate solids and debris prior to conveyance to storage or application to pasture?
3. If direct application of effluent to pasture is used does the sump or trafficable solid trap have a 2-3 day holding capacity in the event of a pump breakdown?
Total retention (storage) of all effluent during the months of the year when pastures are too wet for effluent application.
4. If pondage system is used, is your storage capacity based on water use in the dairy and recommended storage periods specific to your situation and area?
5. Is your storage sited and operated to allow effluent to access a minimum of 100 cows/10 acres of the milking pastures?
The distribution of nutrients to benefit pastures and improve soil health.
6. Is your effluent system capable of controlling the rate in which effluent is applied to pastures and crops?
7. Are you matching the nutrient loading in effluent to the specific nutrient requirements of your pastures, crops and soils?
The ability to continually manage effluent to ensure the system operates at an optimum level
8. Does your dairy effluent system completely retain all the effluent within the farm boundaries all year round?
9. Is your system designed to prevent effluent reaching surface or ground water?
(If answering "no" to Q8 or Q9, it is likely that, you will breach Environment Protection Policy legislation).
10. Is your effluent storage emptied annually prior to the wetter months?
11. Has your effluent system been upgraded following any significant changes to the milking shed or feedpad facility?
A " NO " response to any of the above indicates a problem in your dairy effluent system.
It would be worthwhile reviewing the effluent system and contacting the Department of Environment and Primary Industries or a qualified service provider for an Effluent Management Plan. A more detailed assessment tool for effluent management can be found in the DairySAT tool.
This Agnote was developed by Scott McDonald, October 2002.
It was reviewed by Scott McDonald, Farm Services Victoria. March 2009.
Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
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