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Upgrades to dairy effluent systems good news for Geographe waterways

Wednesday, 11 August 2021
  • Healthy Estuaries WA program partners with local dairy farmers to help protect Geographe Catchment
  • Upgrades to dairy farm effluent systems to reduce nutrients entering Geographe waterways
  • Dairy industry releases new Code of Practice for on-farm effluent management
  • New code provides technical advice to help farmers improve effluent management

Recent fit-for-purpose upgrades to local dairy farm effluent systems, delivered as part of the McGowan Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program, are helping dairy farmers in the Geographe Catchment better manage dairy effluent and nutrient run-off this winter and into the future.

These upgrades are a key component of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways (RGW) program, which aims to reduce the amount of nutrients entering local waterways and Geographe Bay.

The Geographe Catchment Council recently received an additional $2.1 million funding for the continuation of the RGW program through the McGowan Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program.

Dairy effluent entering waterways like the Geographe (either directly or indirectly through the catchment) contains high levels of nutrients, sediment and pathogens, which can cause significant problems for aquatic ecosystems such as eutrophication, algal blooms, and fish kill events.

As part of the RGW program, ten dairy farmers received funding incentives to upgrade their systems and develop individual effluent management plans through an accredited system designer, and in turn reduce the level of nutrient run-off from their farms into the Geographe Catchment.

The upgrades have seen participating farmers implement a range of more effective solutions for managing effluent to suit their individual farms and herd sizes, as well as improve methods of on-farm solids storage to enable the reuse of effluent on pastures.

A new Dairy Effluent Management Code of Practice has also recently been released by Western Dairy. The new code provides important technical advice to farmers and industry, to assist them in the better management of on-farm effluent.

Western Dairy are working closely with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), and recently received $400,000 funding (through the Healthy Estuaries WA program) for the implementation of the dairy best management project, including supporting the on-farm implementation of the Dairy Effluent Management Code of Practice.

With effluent management a significant issue for the dairy industry, Healthy Estuaries WA funding and support from DWER and the local catchment group GeoCatch is not only helping local dairy farmers reduce nutrient run-off from their farms, but also assisting them to meet the required effluent management standards.

To view the dairy effluent Code of Practice, visit the Western Dairy webpage:

Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:

“Partnerships between government, farmers and industry are critical to delivering real improvements to effluent management in WA.

“While upgrades to effluent systems are complex and can be expensive, this upgrade program has seen a real commitment and investment from local farmers and the WA dairy industry in the protection of the Geographe Catchment and waterways.

“Through the McGowan Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program and DWER’s long-term partnerships with dairy farmers, industry stakeholders and GeoCatch, we’re now seeing real improvements to effluent management systems and the resulting reductions in nutrient run-off into the catchment.”

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