Farmers turned out in record numbers for Waikato Regional Council’s fourth Effluent Expo, held at Mystery Creek on Tuesday.
Over 50 exhibitors were on show indoors and outside, with the aim of supporting farmers who want to boost farm profits while minimising their environmental impacts.
As well as the regional council and key sponsor DairyNZ, there were exhibits ranging from effluent irrigators through to storage ponds and systems designers.
“This year’s record turnout of more than 650 demonstrates an ever increasing commitment from farm owners, sharemilkers, farm managers and workers, and agri-industry professionals to improving effluent management,” said expo organiser Electra Kalaugher, an environmental farming systems adviser at the regional council.
“It’s great that the expo is really being seen throughout the industry as a one-stop shop to support farmers in upgrading their effluent systems.
“We were especially happy to note that about half the expo’s visitors were farm owners, who are the decision makers for major investments like upgrading their effluent systems,” she said.
“I’d particularly like to acknowledge the support of DairyNZ and also the efforts of Fonterra, Open Country, Tatua and Miraka in promoting the event to their farmers.”
While the majority of attendees were from the Waikato, some farmers came from as far away as Northland, Taranaki and the Wairarapa. In previous years the expo has drawn about 500 attendees.
The expo comes at a time when organiser Waikato Regional Council is working more proactively with farmers whose properties have soils which present a greater risk of contaminants getting into waterways. The need for top quality advice and design from an accredited effluent designer is most critical on those farms and 10 of the 14 accredited companies were on display at the expo.
The expo also featured a range of seminars presented by industry experts on effluent issues, such as:
- key principles for designing an upgrade or installing a new effluent irrigation system
- nutrient management on dairy farms
- making the most of your effluent irrigation
- what the regional council is looking for in dairy effluent monitoring.
Many of these seminars were packed out and the presentations will shortly be available on the council’s website, www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/forfarmers.
Ms Kalaugher said the high level of interest in the expo from both farmers and exhibitors bodes well for next year’s event.