Most applications for this fourth round of the rural water use efficiency (RWUE) program included financial incentives for effluent projects.
The RWUE program, funded by the Queensland Department of Resources, aims at assisting dairy farmers and commercial fodder producers in Queensland to adopt improved water use efficiencies along with improving water, energy and nutrient management practices.
Project grant incentives of up to 25 per cent up to $ 5000 are available for effluent system changes or improvements to: yard cleaning, pre-treatment; collection, treatment and storage; feed pads and effluent irrigation systems.
One of our members, Mark Fitch, has used the program to upgrade his effluent system* to accommodate his growing herd.
Mark saw the opportunity in capturing and reusing effluent runoff to be used back onto his farm in the form of compost and water for yard washdown. The new system considers the flow of effluent water from the dairy yard through to the pond.
The dairy yard was extended (with concrete) to effectively direct water throughout the washdown process with drains installed to connect the dairy yard to the trafficable solids trap. At this point, the solids are separated from the liquid which continues to flow further into an effluent pond and is reused back onto the yards for washdown through a floating pump and pontoon system. The solid component is scraped, stockpiled and then spread back onto paddocks as required.
Mark has been able to conserve his water usage, improve cow comfort and minimise fertiliser inputs through implementing this new system.
We'll continue to check in with Mark over the coming year, to see how these upgrades across his system affects his farm's overall efficiency.
- N.B. not all components of Mark's effluent upgrade were funded under the RWUE effluent incentive grant scheme.