Dairy farmers will be quick to tell you that effluent management is one of the hardest things to get right on the farm. It’s a dirty, messy but essential part of daily life at the dairy.

Getting effluent management right is hugely beneficial for farmers, allowing them to recoup nutrients from the effluent for reuse on the paddock, whilst also keeping effluent out of waterways.

Recently, more than thirty dairy farmers attended a field day in Boyanup. Practical tips on storing, reusing and managing effluent were shared by visiting interstate and NZ specialists.

The solid show of farmers, dairy industry service providers and Shire planners who attended the DairyCare field day demonstrated that effluent management is gaining momentum, not just in the Geographe Catchment, but across the south west. DairyCare effluent project partners Western Dairy, who are developing effluent plans and coordinating system upgrades have also been finding that effluent management is on farmers’ minds.

‘Effluent management is a definitely something that WA dairy farmers are keen to get on top of on their farms,’ said Western Dairy effluent designer Dan Parnell. ‘Western Dairy have been undertaking one-on-one farm visits over the past few months, and effluent management is a hot topic.’

The field day included visits to two dairy effluent systems that utilise different methods of irrigating effluent back on the paddock; one farm utilising a two pond system and a big gun irrigator while the other is achieving success irrigating effluent through a centre pivot.

"It’s important for farmers to see some systems that are working well and to know who they can talk to about getting a system to work well on their farm, said DairyCare Project Coordinator Bree Brown. "We are working with a range of experienced service providers, both here in WA and from other states and NZ to help farmers access the right support to improve effluent management."

Effluent Plans are currently being finalised in the Geographe Catchment, before implementation plans are developed that detail the technical details of new equipment and any earthworks required. The first system upgrades are anticipated to start in towards the end of 2018.