Water works benefits flow
DAIRY and beef farmers are the focus of a new project to improve water quality in the Circular Head region.
The project aiming to keep cows off waterways is funded by Cradle Coast NRM and DairyTas and supported by Greenham Tasmania.
The project is a first for the region and will provide up to $5500 for about 26 farms to help fence riparian areas and to provide off-stream water points.
Over the past year, Cody Korpershoek has been busy putting up about 4km of fencing along rivers and creeks on the Whitewater Flats property at Edith Creek where he farms.
The dairy operation is owned by Circular Head Farms and Mr Korpershoek did the fencing work as part of the Clean Rivers project.
As well as fencing off large sections of the Duck River to exclude cows, he has also fenced off about 1km of the Whitewater Creek.
He said as well as improving water quality, there were a number of other benefits of keeping stock out of the waterways.
“The main benefit for me is management. When you haven’t got fences around there it’s really difficult to strip graze and things like that.”
Mr Korpershoek said previously they put up temporary fencing along the river when cows were in those paddocks.
“We don’t see the downstream benefits like other people probably would, but there are a lot of management benefits,” he said. “Even when cows are calving, their natural instinct is to go to the wettest, hardest spots to get them out of, so this definitely helps.”
Mr Korpershoek said he could already see changes in the fenced-off areas now the cows cannot access them.
“There’s grass right down to the river edge now and there are already some small trees starting to shoot up.”
He said they had fenced off some of major farm drains to ensure waste running into the river and creek was clean.
Richard Ingram from Cradle Coast NRM said the project would implement research findings on farms.
He said the NRM plan for the Duck, Welcome and Montagu catchments showed works to keep stock out of creeks and major drains could make a difference to water quality.
DairyTas executive officer Mark Smith said the project was a collaboration between the dairy and beef industries.
He said it built on the Clean Rivers program in the dairy industry, which has seen 107 dairy businesses take on effluent, drainage or off-stream watering projects.
Beef farmers in the region will also be encouraged to get involved with the project.
Greenham’s livestock supply manager Kristen Kay said good environmental practices were important for the company’s premium brands as well as for animal health and production benefits.
Applications for the project close on September 15. Visit www.dairytas.com.au.