Effluent Innovation

Local farmer Ray Kitchen, visits the GeoCatch tent at Diary Innovation Day to find out about the project from Murdoch student Laura Senge and Dairy Project Coordinator Bree Brown

Dairy Farmers took the opportunity to bring samples from their dairy effluent ponds for free nutrient testing at the 2017 Dairy Innovation Day in Busselton.

Understanding the amount of nutrients in effluent will assist farmers to reuse it on their paddocks to improve fertility while preventing run off to waterways.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Dairy Project Officer, Bree Brown said the average dairy cow produces up to 50 kilograms of manure each day.

“Some of the manure is deposited at the dairy shed during milking and is mixed with wash down water to create ‘effluent’”.

“The management of dairy effluent is a critical issue for farmers and the environment, so we are working with farmers, Western Dairy and regional catchment groups to promote best practice in dairy effluent management”, said Bree.

The dairy effluent management program is currently being rolled out in the Leschenault estuary and Hardy Inlet through the Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI) and in the Vasse-Wonnerup catchments through the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s REI Coordinator, Jennifer Stritzke said with nutrient run-off from agricultural land representing the largest source of nutrients entering estuaries in South West WA, farmers have the opportunity to improve water quality in their local waterways and estuary.

“Good effluent management on dairy farms delivers better fertiliser decisions, improved soil condition and moisture retention and subsequently, reduced nutrient run-off from farms”, said Jennifer.

For more information check out the Regional Estuaries Initiative website or contact Bree Brown on (08) 9781 0111 or Breanne.brown@dwer.wa.gov.au.