Con­serv­ing water more ef­fi­cient

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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.

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