15 Mar 2010

Proposed dairy effluent code out for consultation

8:32 pm on 15 March 2010

The dairy industry body, Dairy NZ, has released a proposed new set of design standards and a code of practice to guide farmers who are installing effluent management systems.

The code is a bid to lower the number of prosecutions for illegal effluent discharges.

Instances of dairy farmers being prosecuted by regional councils for applying effluent to water-logged pasture that cannot absorb it have been common in recent years.

Dairy NZ says the problem has arisen as the industry has been coming to grips with how to respond to environmental conditions to reduce the danger of effluent leaching from over-wet pasture into waterways.

The head of its Sustainability Team, Mike Scarsbrook, says some effluent management designers are not as skilled and knowledgeable as others in the industry, and by establishing industry standards farmers will be able to get consistent and trusted advice.

Dr Scarsbrook says the project will also be useful for regional councils which want to develop standards for managing dairy shed effluent.

Members of the public have until 9 April to give their feedback to Dairy NZ.