Effluent systems improved

Tari JeffersBusselton Dunsborough Times
Inspection of dairy farmer Garry Haddon's completed effluent storage dam.
Camera IconInspection of dairy farmer Garry Haddon's completed effluent storage dam. Credit: GeoCatch

Geographe dairy farmers are showing their commitment to reducing nutrients leaving their farms, with five dairy effluent system upgrades being completed this autumn.

Effluent from dairy sheds on average contributes 11 per cent of phosphorous and 7 per cent of nitrogen to the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands each year.

Improving dairy effluent systems has been a Revitalising Geographe Waterways program priority.

Ten Geographe dairy farmers have got on board to improve their effluent systems as part of the program, which offers financial incentives through GeoCatch and Western Dairy to develop an effluent management plan and undergo upgrades to their current systems.

Garry Haddon completed his effluent upgrade after three months of work.

Mr Haddon runs the biggest dairy farm in the catchment with a herd size of 1300 cattle.

As part of the upgrade, he installed a 34-megalitre dam to store the liquid component of the effluent, which will be used to irrigate 95ha of the farm, returning valuable nutrients to pastures. Elgin dairy farmer Darren Merritt has bought an effluent tanker as part of his upgrade, which will enable him to reuse effluent across his farm.

“This is something we have invested a lot of time and effort into in some very challenging years for dairy farmers,” he said.

GeoCatch project co-ordinator Bree Brown said the upgrades would have additional benefits.

“As upgrades are completed, farmers who supply milk to Harvey Fresh are eligible to access milk price incentives,” she said.

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