New Code And Standards For Dairy Effluent

NEW ZEALAND - A new code of practice and design standards for dairy farm effluent systems will show farmers what good looks like, according to the group behind the work. The release of the Farm Dairy Effluent (FDE) Design Code of Practice and Design Standards today comes after two years of development by representatives across the dairy industry, the effluent services industry, and regional council.
calendar icon 4 March 2011
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A farmer guide – Planning the right system for your farm – has also been produced to help take farmers through the process of having a new system designed and built based on the new code.

The standards provide a set of criteria against which to measure the adequacy of farm dairy effluent systems in New Zealand. The code guides designers through a thorough process for developing a farm dairy effluent system which is fit for purpose.

Tim Scott of the New Zealand Milking & Pumping Trade Association Inc (NZMPTA) sees this as a positive development for effluent system designers and installers as well as farmers.

“We expect farmers will seek out the services of suppliers who follow the recommendations in the new code and standards because those recommendations will lead to more profitable effluent nutrient management and environmental benefits as well,” Dr Scott says.

“The effluent services industry sees this as a way of lifting the bar on the level of services and equipment we provide to farmers in this area.”

DairyNZ Development Project Manager - Effluent Dr Theresa Wilson says 28 submissions were considered by a technical group prior to finalising the code and standards.

“Interest in these developments from the effluent services industry and farmers has been particularly high; which is understandable as they set out for the first time an industry-agreed approach to the design and upgrade of effluent systems.”

“This code has been needed because of the many new kinds of systems that have come around since farmers have moved from two-pond systems to land application of effluent. Poorly designed and installed systems have contributed to non-compliance with regional council requirements.”

Irrigation New Zealand Chief Executive Andrew Curtis says during 2011 information sessions, formal training and an accreditation process for effluent system designers and suppliers will be delivered to bring them up to speed with the code and standards.

“We plan to have industry training courses for designers and installers up and running by mid year, followed by an accreditation process. In the interim farmers should ask their suppliers if their recommendations are based on the code and standards documents.”

Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson Lachlan Mackenzie says resources for farmers were being developed to help them work through the changes with their designers and effluent system contractors.

“Good support resources will let dairy farmers make better decisions around investing in advice and systems which give them peace of mind and they also go a long way to making systems easier to manage on a daily basis.”

Fonterra Manager Sustainable Dairying Field Team Emma Parsons says the dairy company is supportive of the code and standards and advises farmers to use the farmer guide resources.

“This is another important part of a variety of initiatives happening in the dairy industry to improve the way effluent is managed. Our sustainable dairying advisors are able to help suppliers who are considering upgrading their system to talk through how the code can benefit them in that process.”

Irrigation New Zealand, the New Zealand Milking and Pumping Trade Association, Fonterra, and DairyNZ and Federated Farmers Dairy are committed to implementing the standards and the code.

The documents are available for download at

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