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Time to manage ponds

A DRY start to winter has opened a small window of opportunity for dairy farmers wanting to irrigate pastures with their dairy pond effluent.
Kongwak dairy farmers Andrew Perry and Kerry Fraser hosted a walk-through on their farm recently as part of the Healthy Soils, Sustainable Farms project supported by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.
Mr Perry said the whole idea of the project was to give the best strategy for the dairy to ensure the best environmental and production outcomes using dairy pond effluent management.
“One of the challenges we face is knowing how much to pull back on fertilisers and managing the ponds, so you need an independent review,” he said.
“It has been a relatively dry year, so we are still pumping effluent into pasture. Normally at this time of year we would be swimming around in our gumboots.”
About 10 percent of a cow’s waste is deposited in the milking process and it is a farmer’s responsibility to keep that effluent from running off beyond the farm.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria Gippsland region manager Stephen Lansdell said that after a fairly dry autumn in most areas, dairy farmers need to be emptying their dairy effluent ponds for maintenance.
Problems with dairy effluent ponds are common. When EPA ran an inspection program on 31 dairy farms in 2017, more than half were served with legally enforceable notices to undertake works to resolve pollution problems.
According to Agriculture Victoria dairy development specialist Scott McDonald, most environmental issues are due to surface run-off and risk of leaching, odour and effluent pooling which also caused emissions.
“Agriculture Victoria plays the lead role in educating farmers and training up the private sector consultants to assist farmers in successful pond design,” he said.
“There is a bit of an opportunity to irrigate now before they get too wet but it’s also a good time to do some de-sludging to keep those ponds from over-flowing.”

Managing waste: dairy pond effluent can pose challenges to dairy farmers. Andrew Perry hosted a walk-through at his Kongwak farm with Ag-Challenge effluent management consultant Glenn Marriott and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority project manager Tony Gardner recently.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25267

Posted by on Jun 26 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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