This spring brings not only a welcome surge in pasture growth and milk flow, but for some farmers the headache of effluent management risks taking the glow out of the season’s peak.
DairyNZ has developed the Effluent Warrant of Fitness (WOF) programme that aims to ease effluent headaches by helping farmers ensure their effluent system is fit for purpose all year round.
The Effluent WOF programme consists of a voluntary, independent inspection of a farmer’s effluent infrastructure and practices.
DairyNZ’s South Island environmental extension specialist Nick Tait says after some extensive “road testing” with over 200 farmers, the Effluent WOF is now available to farmers and rural professionals around the country.
“Getting farmer feedback during the development of the Effluent WOF programme proved invaluable in fine tuning the assessment process. Farmer input helped to make it as insightful and practical as possible, covering the entire effluent system,” says Nick.
An independent assessor points out areas of risk and suggests practical actions a farmer can take to ensure their system is capable of being compliant 365 days a year.
The three to four hour assessment by the certified assessor covers the farm’s effluent consents and permitted rules, the storage capacity, nutrient loadings, soil risk, irrigator performance, off-pasture infrastructure, and general health and safety requirements.
One key area farmers have struggled to get a clear line on in the past has been the volume of storage needed on farm.
The WOF process assesses the volume of storage needed taking into account the soil risk for the farm’s effluent application area and the irrigation equipment available.
“For Canterbury farmers already having to start allowing for upcoming nutrient management constraints on farm operations, completing a WOF and knowing they have efficient, compliant effluent systems will help them continue to operate efficiently under those constraints”, says Nick.