Smart water use message spreads
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 www.dairynz.co.nz for details or ring 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) to order the Smart Water Use kit.