Farm­ers asked to keep roads clean

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Farm­ers are be­ing urged to stand stock off green feed be­fore they are trans­ported to help keep Waikato’s roads clear of ef­flu­ent and safe for users.

The re­minder comes ahead of ‘‘gypsy day’’, which oc­curs in the week lead­ing up to and im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing June 1 each year.

It in­volves the mass trans­port­ing of cows around the coun­try’s roads as farm con­trac­tors re­lo­cate them­selves and their stock in time for the new sea­son.

‘‘We’ve been work­ing closely with in­dus­try, in par­tic­u­lar farm­ers and live­stock car­ri­ers, and they gen­er­ally do a good job of mov­ing stock cleanly,’’ Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s se­nior trans­port plan­ner, Isy Kennedy, said.

‘‘How­ever, stock truck ef­flu­ent spillage does still oc­cur on Waikato roads, pre­sent­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal, road safety and per­sonal health is­sues.

‘‘It’s smelly and un­sightly, and has the po­ten­tial to reach water­ways and de­grade wa­ter qual­ity,’’ she said.

‘‘Waikato is the most pro­lif­i­cally stocked re­gion in New Zealand, with in ex­cess of 4.5 mil­lion dairy cows and 600,000 beef stock.

‘‘A cow’s daily com­bined ef­flu­ent is ap­prox­i­mately 52 litres, and a truck ef­flu­ent tank’s ca­pac­ity is just 200 litres. It means the spillage of ef­flu­ent on to roads is a real risk un­less farm­ers and live­stock car­ri­ers take some sim­ple steps ahead of time,’’ Ms Kennedy said.

Farm­ers are re­spon­si­ble for:

Con­firm­ing stock pick-up times in ad­vance to elim­i­nate con­fu­sion.

Mov­ing stock close to the load­ing ramp the day be­fore, when pos­si­ble.

Stand­ing stock off green feed for a min­i­mum of four hours (with wa­ter).

Us­ing dry feed be­fore trans­port be­cause it re­sults in less ef­flu­ent.

Live­stock car­ri­ers are re­minded to:

Com­mu­ni­cate with farm­ers and be clear about pick-up times.

Re­mind the farmer to stand stock prior to trans­port.

Be aware of, and use, stock ef­flu­ent dis­posal fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion.

Reg­u­larly empty the truck’s ef­flu­ent tanks to pre­vent the need to dis­charge sur­plus ef­flu­ent on to the road­way.

There is one in-tran­sit ef­flu­ent dump­ing site on State High­way 5 at Ta­papa and three dump sites at sale yards in Mor­rinsville, Taupo and Tuakau.

There are also dis­posal fa­cil­i­ties at Green­lea Meats (Hamil­ton), AF­FCO (Horotiu) and Ruakura Abat­toir for trucks vis­it­ing those sites.

The Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil is work­ing with road con­trol­ling au­thor­i­ties to es­tab­lish fur­ther ef­flu­ent dump sites in the re­gion.

‘‘Ul­ti­mately, good plan­ning means stock will be cleaner on ar­rival at the freez­ing works or sale yards, po­ten­tially in­creas­ing the pre­mium price, and our roads won’t be un­nec­es­sar­ily dirt­ied,’’ Ms Kennedy said.

On the move: Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil has been work­ing closely with peo­ple in the farm­ing in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar farm­ers and live­stock car­ri­ers, and they gen­er­ally do a good job of mov­ing stock cleanly.

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