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Waitaki App

Reminders for dairy farmers ahead of Moving Day

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

31 May 2024, 2:20 AM

Reminders for dairy farmers ahead of Moving Day

Dairy farmers are being reminded to ‘stand stock’ before annual Moving Day


Otago Regional Council compliance manager Tami Sargeant says whether farmers are shifting herds by walking on the road or stock truck, they should be moved from green feed onto a hay/straw or silage diet for at least four, but no more than twelve hours, with water before travel.



This helps safeguard water quality and road safety for Moving Day, which starts from tomorrow (June 1), and continues for several weeks. It is a tradition where dairy cow herds and farmers move between farm properties.


Tami says the emphasis is on farmers’ standing their stock the day before moving, but also for trucking companies to use the roadside effluent disposal sites.

 

Effluent from stock trucks can put other drivers at risk and pollute nearby waterways, if it spills onto the road, she says.

 

The ORC and several local authorities now operate nine roadside effluent disposal sites across Otago, with six disposal sites on State Highway 1 between Pukeuri and Clinton, and three on inland highways, at Raes Junction, Brassknocker Rd and Tarras.

 

Farmers walking their herd along a road should keep them away from roadside drains, and avoid disturbed soil, to stop effluent entering waterways.

 

For welfare reasons, DairyNZ recommends a grazed-out paddock or stand-off pad as better options for standing stock than a concrete surface, as the latter can contribute to tender feet and is not good for stock to lie on.

 

Stock truck effluent spills can be reported to the ORC’s Pollution Hotline on 0800 800 033.


Dairy farm compliance up


Meanwhile, Otago dairy farmers are being congratulated for upping their compliance around effluent storage and discharges, compared with a year ago.


Tami says it’s good to recognise the effort of the farmers alongside the work of ORC’s dairy team.


“It’s really great to see high compliance across the more than 400 farms we’ve inspected in the financial year-to-date, and to see improved compliance another few points up on last year.”


The dairy farm compliance inspections are primarily around effluent management - storage and discharge – with ORC also monitoring compliance with rules for landfills, silage, offal pits and permitted water takes.


Despite dairy inspections being up on a year ago, from 317 to 406, for the 10-months to the end of April, full compliance with rules also rose from 61% a year ago to 66%, while those in the grade of “significant non-compliance” fell, from 3% to 2% for the year, she says.


“The dairy project monitors compliance with animal effluent systems and discharges, as well as farm waste streams, such as their offal pits and farm landfills, plus their permitted water takes,” Tami says.


“There was also a focus on providing awareness and engaging with farmers on the requirements for animal effluent storage and discharge consents, and understanding when consents might be required,” Ms 

Sargeant says.


Farmers compliance guide:  https://www.orc.govt.nz/consents-and-compliance/the-farmer-s-guide

 

Consent compliance numbers 

                                             2022-23 (317 inspections)                  2023-24 (406 inspections)

Consent not yet exercised        24                                                                  1

Full compliance                                78 (61%)                                                      267 (66%)

Low risk non-compliance          87 (30%)                                                      114 (28%)

Moderate risk non-compliance           19 (6%)                                                        18 (4%)

Significant risk non-compliance   9  (3%)                                                         8 (2%)

 

The reasons for non-compliance were largely all related to unconsented effluent storage, effluent pond overflows, effluent ponding, offal pit and farm landfill mixing, setbacks and silage leachate discharges, Tami says.


“In many of these cases it was a simply a matter of education and reiterating best management practices around some operations, activities or changes to infrastructure.”