Smart wa­ter use mes­sage spreads

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

We’re into our sec­ond sea­son now, spread­ing the word on smart wa­ter use on dairy farms. Us­ing wa­ter ef­fi­ciently is one part of the equa­tion; re­duc­ing wa­ter loss is the other.

In my trav­els to meet with farm­ers and as­sist with dis­cus­sion groups around the Waikato, I have been get­ting some feed­back.

Dairy farm­ers have been telling me why they choose to put smart wa­ter use ideas into ac­tion.

Joan de Renzy, who has been on the fam­ily farm in Puke­tutu Rd with hus­band Peter for 50 years, said quite sim­ply, wa­ter was a pre­cious re­source.

‘‘We have to use it care­fully to en­sure it’s avail­able for ev­ery­one.’’

Com­ments from other Mata­mata farm­ers in­clude:

‘‘A se­cure wa­ter sup­ply for my herd is ev­ery­thing.’’

‘‘I’m onto leaks and losses fast. Other­wise, reme­dies go­ing out in the dosatron are be­ing wasted. This costs me money and can af­fect the health of my cows.’’

‘‘It’s a com­mu­nity thing. Last year my neigh­bour put down a bore and one of mine went dry. We have to be sure there’ll al­ways be enough wa­ter to go around.’’

‘‘Efficient wa­ter use is sim­ply a part of good farm man­age­ment.’’

Farm­ers have also been telling me about the things they’re do­ing to bet­ter man­age their wa­ter sup­ply.

Sharemilker Si­mon Trusler, who runs 360 cows on the de Renzy farm, said they did a pre-sum­mer check of all troughs.

‘‘We drained each one and checked all parts and re­paired and re­placed as needed,’’ Mr Trusler said.

‘‘We now use a squeegee to shovel off dung and clear more of it with a rub­ber scraper on the back­ing gate be­fore hos­ing the yard. This cuts our work time and our wa­ter use and means the ef­flu­ent pump is run­ning less.’’ And here’s what some other farm­ers said: ‘‘We have trenched in new larger pipes around the farm. This has re­ally im­proved pres­sure in the lines and ensures ad­e­quate wa­ter for stock.’’

‘‘We did the Smart Wa­ter Use as­sess­ment and have writ­ten up a sim­ple plan for im­prove­ment. Once you write things down, you make a com­mit­ment to it and you can track your progress.’’

The Smart Wa­ter Use as­sess­ment is a sim­ple tick-box ex­er­cise, us­ing the work­book in the re­source kit. It’s a great start­ing point to as­sess op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­prove­ment.

Dairy farm­ers can check out for de­tails or ring 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) to or­der the Smart Wa­ter Use kit.

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