Dairy farming is an important industry in the Geographe Bay Catchment. The 35 dairy sheds in our region produce quality milk for local and international markets, and represent a quarter of all dairies in Western Australia.
These highly productive farms can be a source of nutrients to waterways through fertiliser use, manure from livestock and effluent produced in the washdown process after milking. Working with our dairy farmers provides an opportunity to improve water quality while also improving the productivity and profitability of dairy farms.
Upgrading effluent management systems in dairy sheds reduces the risk of nutrient runoff and keeps nutrients on the farm where they can be used as fertiliser to grow healthy pastures. System improvements include minimising the volume of effluent generated and the capture, solids separation, storage and reuse of dairy effluent.
The scope of works for these upgrades may include additional pipework, pumps and sprinklers to increase the areas where effluent is applied, ensuring the area is large enough to prevent nutrient build up in the soil. Solids separation systems can also be improved with screens, solid settling ponds and traps.
Since 2010, 20 dairy farms have upgraded their dairy effluent systems, reducing phosphorus loads to waterways by 1900 kg/yr and nitrogen by 13,400 kg/yr. A mammoth effort!
We have benchmarked 80% of dairy farms against the Code of Practice. We are supporting farmers to meet the Code, through funding and support.
Find out more about a local dairy effluent system upgrade.