Conserving water more efficient
If you’re looking for reasons to use water efficiently in the farm dairy, says Wayne Berry, there’s a pretty good list of them.
Smart water use makes sense to Wayne. As a farm owner, he aims to practise what he preaches. As a farm consultant, he encourages others to use water wisely because it’s profitable and sustainable.
‘‘For a start, smart water use in the farm dairy helps to reduce power use and costs,’’ Wayne says. ‘‘Next, and perhaps most important, it contributes to cost-effective effluent management. Do it right and you can reduce your effluent storage capacity requirements.’’
It’s a no-brainer for those who pay for water by volume – reducing water use keeps money in your pocket. Finally, it can help meet regulatory requirements. This is particularly relevant for Waikato dairy farmers grappling with new water take rules for dairy shed use as set out under Variation 6 of the Waikato Regional Plan.
The regional council, Federated Farmers and DairyNZ have all been running sessions to inform farmers about Variation 6 and support those needing to apply for resource consent.
DairyNZ has also released a new resource entitled Smart Water Use in the Farm Dairy which has tips and advice for efficient water use and a worksheet to help estimate water use (in the absence of meters). ‘‘Knowing current water use will be particularly helpful in completing the resource consent application,’’ says Wayne.
‘‘So this new DairyNZ resource is something farmers will want to get their hands on.’’
The worksheet looks at water use for milk cooling, plant/vat wash, yard wash down, and other uses. It follows measure record and calculate steps to give an estimate of total water use. The resource itself provides efficiency options in these same areas. ‘‘Some real gains in yard wash down water use are possible, depending on your current routine,’’ says Wayne, who has been involved with the DairyNZ Smart Water Use programme since its inception.
For manual yard washing, the following is suggested:
Pre-wet the yard on warm, sunny days with a yard hose or sprinkler
Use a scraper or a chain (inside an old yard hose) on the backing gate to break up dung before hosing
Wash the yard after each milking
Hose the yard with high water volume under low pressure
Work actively and close to the effluent
Include a timer setting on the yard wash down pump (set a time standard for wash down and train staff to achieve it)
Consider capturing excess cooler water (that would otherwise go to waste) in tipper drums for yard wash.
Recycling effluent (green water) to flood wash the yard is an excellent way to further reduce water use.
If you are considering this, get advice from your dairy company representative to ensure you are compliant with your terms and conditions of supply.
Smart Water Use in the Farm Dairy can be downloaded at dairynz. co. nz/ smart wateruse. To get a hard copy, ring 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969).
ADVICE: Wash down yards and sheds after each milking.