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Published: 2012-02-07 00:00:00

A new “good clean dairying” promotion will feature at this month’s Effluent Expo at Mystery Creek, being organised by Waikato Regional Council and sponsored by DairyNZ.

The expo on 28 February is aimed at providing farm effluent management information to farmers so that both the environment and their profitability are supported.

“Dairy farming can often be labelled with a ‘dirty dairying’ tag,” says council agriculture advisor Kate Ody.

“But, in our experience, there are many Waikato farmers doing a great job of protecting the environment already and many others are lifting their game to do better. The huge turn-out at last year’s inaugural expo, attended by about one in ten of the region’s dairy farmers, is one example of the industry’s efforts to improve effluent management.

“Our new ‘good clean dairying’ promotion, to feature at the council’s stand at the expo, will aim to model and promote the many examples of good clean dairying that exist in our region. Initially we will focus on having effective effluent storage.

“At the same time the council will also naturally continue to monitor compliance with its farm effluent management rules and take regulatory action where appropriate.”

Ms Ody said the ‘good clean dairying’ promotion was in the development phase at present but the council plans to announce more details around the time of the expo. 

The number of exhibitors at this month’s expo sits at more than 40 compared to 25 last year. The expo will run from 9am to 3.30pm.

Farmer attendance this year could be further boosted this year as Bay of Plenty Regional Council has let dairy farmers in its area know about it, and the Auckland Council has publicised it with farmers south of Auckland.

The expo comes at a time when Waikato Regional Council is looking to do more to protect water quality and water resources in the region from the impacts of intensive agriculture, especially nutrients and bacteria from dairying and other livestock farming.

“There will be an opportunity at the expo to see how the effluent pond storage calculator applies to individual farms using Waikato data,” said Ms Ody. (The calculator was originally developed by Massey University and Horizons Regional Council.)

“And besides what the exhibitors have to offer, there will be a number of optional seminars and demonstrations to take in, which will be repeated throughout the day.”

Seminar topics include:

  • DairyNZ sponsored - Design and construction of dairy effluent storage ponds (Theresa Wilson, DairyNZ and Rex Corlett, Opus)
  • Financial implications of system upgrades - paying to perform (Geoff Cotton, National Bank)
  • Smart water use for effluent management  (Gord Stewart and Wayne Berry, DairyNZ)
  • Optimising effluent management using storage (David Houlbrooke, AgResearch)
  • Consented discharges of treated effluent to waterways - the next steps (Natasha Hayward, Waikato Regional Council)
  • Making the most of pig effluent and staying compliant (Jaye Hill, NZ Pork and Kate Ody Waikato Regional Council)
  • Biogas opportunities from stored pig effluent (Stephan Huebeck, NIWA)

Waikato Regional Council staff will be on hand to answer questions about complying with council rules on effluent management.

Outside the venue visitors will be able to see demonstrations of a range of effluent irrigators.

More information about the expo can be found at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/forfarmers