Northland Regional Council has for many years promoted large storage/treatment ponds and land application as the preferred means of farm dairy effluent (FDE) management. Despite this, the volumes of effluent being discharged to water, and compliance with regional rules and conditions of resource consents have been unsatisfactory.
It is obvious that it is common practice on a lot of dairy farms to add copious amounts of clean water to relatively small amounts of effluent and turn it into excessive and unmanageable volumes of effluent. This practise has also resulted in over-investment in capital and operating costs for effluent disposal.
Unfortunately some farmers believe that there are benefits in increasing effluent volumes in order to irrigate pasture. Using the effluent disposal infrastructure for pasture irrigation is nonsensical. The benefits are very limited at best and greatly increase the risk of non-compliance with effluent rules and consent conditions. The major benefit which accrues from well managed land application of effluent is improved pasture/crop growth from good utilisation of nutrients in the effluent.
Waiotu Farms Limited
In mid-2013, it was decided to instigate trial work on at least two farms to reduce effluent volumes. Waiotu Farms Limited, owned by Kevin and Michelle Alexander was one of the farms.