19 Sep 2014

New products to help meet regulations

3:24 pm on 19 September 2014

Agri-companies are under pressure to come up with innovative new products to assist dairy farmers as they struggle to comply with tough new environmental regulations.

For example, if a farmer fails a water quality test, they face stringent conditions such as wash down before and after every milking, as well as increasing fines.

The products aim to help farmers improve water quality and help with problems associated with effluent.

The products aim to help farmers improve water quality and help with problems associated with effluent. Photo: PHOTO NZ

At present, the most popular method of treating water is to run it through an UltraViolet lamp, but this can sometimes cause problems if it is not cleaned regularly.

A new self-cleaning product is on the market which uses hollow fibre membrane technology to remove E.coli from the water.

Aqua Synergy Group's general manager Richard Martin said it is going to have big impact.

"The issue that is prevalent in the dairy industry right now is the quality of water and there's been some really dramatic events happen in recent years when the water quality has been compromised and it's really had a negative effect on the global markets for the likes of Fonterra, so they have to get really tough on it.

"The way the membrane technology works is that it physically removes the E.coli and bacteria and viruses from the water, rather than just killing them as most of the other solutions currently do."

Another solution is also on its way to assist with problems often associated with effluent.

The PUER system produces E.coli-free, clear water from dairy shed wash down water, which can then be reused for wash down, with the separated solids able to be used as fertiliser.

Effluent Treatment Systems director Phil Welham said this would help tackle one of the biggest problems facing the New Zealand dairy industry.

"One, we are preventing the need to use so much water in wash down. Two, we are extracting the nutrient to be available to the farmer at the time of the year when it can be used safely without polluting waterways. And, number three, it's getting this really good quality water back for re-use.

"I guess some of the pressing problems for farmers are actually water use rights and, increasingly, there needs to be consents for those. Whilst stock food and stock water is a natural right, using it for wash down is increasingly going to have limitations. So we're assisting at both ends of that, I believe."

Mr Welham said the first product would be used in the Waikato in October.

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