Effluent

Effluent management is an important part of any dairy farm business. Good effluent management has a number of benefits both on and off the farm including:

  • Saving money on bought in fertiliser.
  • Soil conditioning properties from the organic matter.
  • Improved soil moisture-holding-capacity.
  • Improved nutrient-holding-capacity.
  • Productivity gains from pasture responses.

The following short video clips explain some key aspects of effluent management. Each video clip has an accompanying printable factsheet summarising the video topic, and providing references for further reading or information on the topic.

For reliable and scientifically validated technical information on dairy effluent management adaptable to all dairying regions in Australia, please see The Effluent and Manure Management Database for the Australian Dairy Industry available in our Tools and Guidelines.

Effluent Management Video Series

1.-Making-the-most-of-effluent1. Making the most of effluent

Key messages in film:

  • Effluent is a valuable farm product.
  • Advances in technology have made it easier to manage effluent, reducing the time and hassle involved, while minimising environmental risks and optimising agronomic benefits.
  • Good environmental management is important to dairy consumers.

Video PDF

2.-Avoiding-problems-with-effluent-management2. Avoiding problems with effluent management

Key messages in film:

  • Upgrade the effluent system whenever there are significant changes on the farm.
  • Clean solids traps and sumps regularly.
  • Empty ponds before mid to late autumn.
  • Move irrigators regularly, and utilise a large application area.
  • Keep up regular maintenance.

Video  PDF

3.-The-value-of-effluent3. The value of effluent

Key messages in film:

Re-using effluent provides a range of benefits including:

  • A source of essential plant nutrients, boosting crop and pasture yields,
  • Replacing some bought in fertiliser, reducing annual fertiliser expenses, and
  • Addition of organic matter to the soil, improving soil structure, water and nutrient holding capacity.

Video PDF

4.-Effluent-system-design4. Effluent system design

Key messages in film:

Effective effluent systems achieve the following objectives:

  • All effluent is captured,
  • The effluent volume is minimised,
  • Solids and grit are managed,
  • Provide adequate storage capacity,
  • All effluent is utilised, and
  • The system is people friendly and safe.

Video PDF

5.-Minimising-effluent-volumes5. Minimising effluent volumes

Key messages in film:

Minimise effluent volumes using these five tips:

  • Use calm stockmanship,
  • Fix any water leaks,
  • Keep clean stormwater out of the effluent system,
  • Recycle effluent for yard and pad washing, and
  • Do a water audit.

Video PDF

6.-Managing-storage-levels6. Managing storage levels

Key messages in film:

  • Plenty of storage means more management flexibility and better pasture responses,
  • Minimise effluent volumes,
  • Keep the pond low
  • Never allow effluent to enter a waterway, and
  • Increase storage to avoid winter and spring irrigation.

Video PDF

7.-Planning-a-new-pond7. Planning a new pond

Key messages in film:

Planning a new pond:

  • Get expert help in the planning stage.
  • Allow for future expansion.
  • Assess the potential pond site suitability.
  • Get a geotechnical assessment of soil type to ensure it can meet permeability requirements.

Video PDF

 

8. Constructing a pond – Soil testing8.-Constructing-a-pond-Soil-testing

Key messages in film:

  • A geotechnical assessment is an important part of designing and constructing a new pond.
  • A geotechnical assessment provides the detailed information earthmoving contractors need before they can properly quote for the job.

Video PDF

 

 

9. Pond de-sludging9.-Pond-de-sludging

Key messages in film:

  • Maintain effluent ponds to achieve the maximum life and effectiveness of the pond.
  • Avoid having rubbish enter the effluent system.
  • Pond sludge is a nutrient rich valuable product which has a rapid financial return (3-6 months) on the investment of de-sludging and applying it back to the farm.

Video PDF

10. Managing Manure10.-Managing-Manure

Key messages in film:

  • Manure fibres, sand, gravel and waste feed can decrease the storage capacity of ponds, wear out pumps and equipment, and cause blockages to
    irrigation systems.
  • Adding a feedpad to a farm system may require an upgrade of an existing effluent system.
  • Manure is rich in nutrients and organic matter, and can be highly beneficial as a fertiliser and soil conditioner.

Video  PDF

 

 

 

Other Resources

Dairy Shed Effluent and Biogas – FAQs
DairyGains Victorian Guidelines – Effluent
Victorian Guidelines – Feedpads and Freestalls
Environmental management guidelines for the dairy industry NSW
Managing Dairy Farm Effluent in Tasmania
SE South Australian Effluent Guidelines
Mt Lofty Ranges Effluent Guidelines
WA Code of Practice Dairy Shed Effluent