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Effective nutrient and effluent management is particularly important at this time of the year, especially when wetter weather increases the risk of contaminants getting into waterways. It’s important to get it right from the start.
This issue and others will be covered at a pre-calving field day to be held on Monday (July 4) at Jason and Sheree Hayman’s farm, 50 Simms Road, Oamaru (supply number 36134).
The day, which runs from 1pm to 3pm, will have input from the Otago Regional Council (ORC), Fonterra, Dairy NZ, Ravensdown, and the North Otago Irrigation Company. It coincides with a traditionally busy time of the year for dairy farm sales, an associated influx of new farmers and sharemilkers from outside the region, as well as from within; and stock movement between farms.
ORC land resources officer Dylan Robertson says many dairy farmers will already be aware of the economic value of effluent. However, the field day will be an opportunity to further discuss the linkages between effluent and nutrient management.
It will also cover managing effluent application in wet seasons.
The field day will include an on-site discussion at Mr Hayman’s new effluent pond.
ORC’s Rural Water Quality Strategy highlights that runoff from farmland can carry excess nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment. The nutrients can contaminate waterways, promoting algal growth and creating health concerns if swallowed. Bacteria create similar health concerns, while sediment discolours water, clogs fish gills, and buries river bottom habitats.
Contaminated runoff is a challenging issue for everyone involved in land management. ORC has been encouraging farmers to work together to improve water quality as part of a re-appraisal of the Otago Water Plan.
Mr Robertson said ORC’s involvement in the pre-calving day is part of an ongoing commitment to ensure farmers are well set up to manage their dairy waste in the coming season, and reap the nutrient benefits from good effluent application.
The field day will promote practices that improve the quality of rivers, lakes, and streams in the region, enabling farmers to do the right things to give themselves piece of mind.