Western Australia’s South West dairy farms took centre stage at a recent agricultural training course, with livestock effluent system designers from across the nation in attendance to view different technologies in action.
Seven participants travelled from Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania to attend the four-day accredited training course delivered by Western Dairy and supported by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI).
On-farm and in the classroom, respected agriculture professionals – facilitators Scott Birchall and Rachael Campbell – outlined the technical, environmental and practical considerations of custom effluent management planning and explored the benefits and risks of using effluent as fertiliser.
Participant Stephan Tait, a researcher at the University of Southern Queensland Centre for Agricultural Engineering, said the course delivered a balance between theory and practice as well as highlighting the scope of current effluent management solutions.
“This course attracted me because of the national reputation of the presenters and the important learnings that are gleaned from a nationally recognised course in effluent management system design,” he said.
“I think the breadth of effluent management solutions that we explored via dedicated site visits to various dairy farms during the course was most helpful to me.
“Achieving feasible environmental and profitability outcomes from dairy effluent is only possible when effluent management systems are well-designed and maintained.”
Course co-facilitator and Western Dairy DairyCare project officer, Dan Parnell, said utilising education pathways to increase the number of qualified designers and the number of farmers with best-practice effluent systems would help reduce the risk of effluent runoff into waterways.
“Dairy farmers are keen to improve effluent management and to reuse this valuable resource on their farms,” he said.
“Supporting dairy farmers to access qualified service providers will help them design the right system for their business and the environment.”
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