It is coming up to that time of year when farmers are likely to be moving their stock between farms.
In light of this, Environment Waikato is reminding farmers of their obligation to stand stock off grass for at least four hours before trucking them.
“This is best industry practice, set out in a voluntary industry code,” said Environment Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee chair Norm Barker, who is also a dairy farmer.
Cr Barker said stock effluent was a traffic hazard that had been a contributor to at least one road crash in the Waikato in the past.
“It can make road surfaces very slippery in wet conditions and it’s also unpleasant for cyclists and motorists when it splashes into their faces and splatters on car windscreens,” he said.
Cr Barker said Environment Waikato had received nine complaints about stock effluent on Waikato roads over the past month.
“This included a call from a Turangi organisation concerned about animal effluent being discharged into national park areas and onto land where it could enter waterways or spread noxious weeds.”
To reduce effluent spillage:
- farmers can help by standing stock off grass before trucking them
- stock agents and livestock transport firms can assist by giving farmers sufficient notice of stock pick up times
- meat companies and sale yards can help by having effluent disposal facilities at their sites.
“Stock truck effluent is not ‘everybody else’s problem’ – it’s the responsibility of all parties involved to play their part,” Cr Barker said.
“Reducing effluent on the roads requires a collaborative effort between farmers, stock truck companies, meatworks, saleyards and local authorities.”
Environment Waikato coordinates a working group that is reviewing current stock effluent disposal sites and identifying where more sites are needed. The group is also developing education initiatives to help stakeholders play their part in reducing effluent spillages on roads around the region.
The Industry Code of Practice for the Minimisation of Stock Effluent Spillage from Trucks on Roads can be viewed online at http://www.rcaforum.org.nz/national-stock-effluent-working-group/.