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Improving dairy effluent management to grow a healthier Richmond Catchment

With funding provided by the NSW Government’s Catchment Action program, North Coast Local Land Services is working with dairy farmers to better manage dairy effluent, a project that will have positive effects on the health of the Richmond catchment.

Dairy effluent contains considerable amounts of nutrients, in particular Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. If not utilised effectively, dairy effluent can lead to excessive soil nutrient build up in some areas of the farm which can cause unsafe grazing areas and potentially leach into environmentally sensitive areas and waterways.

The 2019 Dairy Effluent Project focuses on dairy farms located in the Richmond River catchment and builds on previous North Coast Local Land Services investment which supported ten dairy farmers in the Richmond catchment to undertake a dairy effluent system review and audit.

The continuation of the project is providing incentives to seven dairy farmers to install upgrades to existing effluent systems that will improve effluent re-use on farm. The targeted grants will be offered to farmers who have an Effluent System Review developed by an Accredited Dairy Effluent System Designer

North Coast Local Land Services project manager, Nathan Jennings says that north coast dairy farmers are doing a very good job of on farm nutrient management with many having undertaken accredited programs such as Fert$mart.

“Dairy farmers already have very detailed soil nutrient management plans which are reviewed annually as part of enterprise operations, this project helps improve the ability for farmers to include the use of effluent as a nutrient source within their existing fertiliser and nutrient management programs.

“The project aims to deliver improved effluent management over nearly 100 hectares through a range of measures that, depending on the individual farm, may include actions such as trafficable solids traps, redesigned concrete drains and walkways, gravel and rock traps, direct application effluent pumps and dilution valves.” Nathan said.

North Coast Local Land Services General Manager, Louise Orr, said “Through successful applications to the NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW funding, we will be undertaking this project that will increase on-farm soil health and adoption of soil conservation practices in three key agricultural industries, one of which is the dairy industry.

“Additionally, we are implementing two other projects that will improve riparian health in the Clarence and Macleay rivers and protect two North Coast biodiversity hotspots.

“We are working hard on building relationships with community groups and other government agencies and our ability to work collaboratively will improve the outcomes of the areas we are working in.” Louise said.

If you would like more information about the Dairy Effluent Project, contact Nathan Jennings on 0437 083 147.

Media contact:            Nathan Jennings, North Coast Local Land Services, Phone 0437 083 147

Photo caption: Dairy farmer, Ken Bryant, who received a grant to increase his application area via the irrigator and increased effluent storage capacity