Northland Regional Council has for many years promoted large storage/treatment ponds and land application as the preferred means effluent disposal. Despite this, the volumes of effluent being discharged to water, and compliance with regional rules and conditions of resource consents have been unsatisfactory.
Common practice on a number of dairy farms is to add copious amounts of clean water to relatively small amounts of effluent and turn it into excessive, unmanageable volumes. This has also resulted in over-investment in capital and operating costs for effluent disposal.
Some farmers want to increase effluent volumes for pasture irrigation. In doing so, they greatly increase the risk of non-compliance with effluent rules and consent conditions; not to mention the increased cost. The lower the dilution (less water added), the higher the nutrient content. Well managed land application of effluent can improve pasture/crop growth far more than diluted pasture irrigation.
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.