Steady Lift in Dairy Waste Compliance

NEW ZEALAND - Continuing improvements in effluent compliance shows the success of industry action, says the Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group.
calendar icon 10 July 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Preliminary effluent compliance figures from Environment Canterbury for 2011-2012 show 70 per cent of dairy farmers fully comply with effluent management regulations. This is up 5 per cent on last year.

Canterbury Dairy Effluent Group (CDEG) representative Ron Pellow says the results of increased awareness are showing year on year.

“One of the key focuses of CDEG has been to improve awareness of effluent management and the need for vigilance with regard to consent requirements,” says Mr Pellow. “It’s pleasing to see a continued improvement in compliance on-farm, as verified by ECan monitoring.

“The increasing number of industry and milk company staff in the effluent management area is also helping provide information, advice and support to farmers.”

DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, NZ Dairies, Synlait, Fonterra, Westland Dairy Products, SIDDC and Environment Canterbury representatives make up CDEG. The group has initiated a range of farmer-focused effluent activities, including the first Canterbury Effluent Expo held in February.

“The expo saw over 500 people involved, travelling from across and beyond the ECan region, showing the significance people are putting into effluent management. All farmers went away with greater knowledge and resources on the storage, application and monitoring of effluent.”

The dairy companies and industry groups are throwing their weight behind the cause.

“The combined work of the industry, from milk companies, DairyNZ and AgITO to other industry groups, and of course investment by farmers, is delivering improved environmental performance from effluent, which is what it’s all about,” says Mr Pellow.

“Initiatives like the Farm Dairy Effluent Design Code of Practice, rolled out by DairyNZ, and implementation of national activities at a local level, such as Fonterra’s Every Farm, Every Year programme, have really helped too.”

Since CDEG formed in 2008, effluent compliance has steadily improved. Minor non-compliance has decreased from 34 per cent in 2007-08 to 21 per cent in the 2011-2012 dairy season. Significant non-compliance has decreased from 20 percent to 8.6 per cent in the same period.

Ron says the lift in compliance shows farmers want to get it right.

“There is no silver bullet – it’s a combination of changes last year and in previous years coming together. Increased attention to detail and the fact that effluent management is now higher on everyone’s radar is leading to ongoing improvements in environmental performance.”

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