Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

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Read information and fact sheets about water saving strategies.

  • Concrete surface and grooving

    Concrete Surface and Grooving

    Description

    Grooves in concrete reduce cows slipping but can impede water flow across the yard, requiring more water to effectively clean it. Grooves of a depth and width of 12mm have been recommended. 

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Diamond shapes work well, with the long axis running parallel to the slope. 

    Pros and Cons

    Important to reduce slips on ramps, steps, sloped and turning areas.

    Costly to create after concrete has set, deep grooves and ˜cobblestones™ can upset drainage.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Deep grooves take longer to clean.

    Animal Health


    Narrow grooves don't improve grip for cows.

    Milk Quality


    Cows flick water up onto udders if slip along deep cobblestone™ patterns.

  • Yard drainage

    Yard Drainage

    Description

    More drains mean less distance to wash solids and so less water is needed“ most manure is deposited close to the dairy. Open or grate-covered drains work best when they have a solid wall behind them to stop waste washing past them.

    Size and shape of drains to improve removal of solids and reduce blockages have been published (see links). Yard slopes are generally between 1 and 3%. Drains must be large enough to prevent water 'œbanking up'.

    Sump needs to hold volume of entire wash unless gravity flow to storage.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Use PVC main pipes 150-300mm diameter (or larger). Effluent pipes must have smooth interior. Open drains need grates and regular cleaning shapes flow better at low volumes.

    Pros and Cons

    Planning at yard construction stage results in hassle-free drainage. However drainage is difficult and expensive to change once concrete is down.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    More drains mean quicker clean-up, stone traps important to protect effluent pumps, sand wears pumps too.

    Environment

    Drains, pipes and sump must be sized to cope with expected volume and deliver it for storage or disposal onto pasture.

  • Solid trap for reuse systems

    Solids Trap for Re-Use Systems

    Description

    Installing a weeping wall or solids trap between the yard and the sump will separate the solids from liquid. This is very helpful if wanting to re-use effluent water for yard cleaning as the liquid requires less pond treatment time.

    It also reduces the maintenance required for effluent pumps, sumps and effluent ponds with the separated solids being spread directly to pasture.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Make sure they are trafficable with a sloped access to get a tractor bucket in. They need to be cleaned out regularly to work. 

    Pros and Cons

    Allows quick separation and reuse of water for yard wash and will reduce pond treatment time. Prefabricated systems cost $6,000 - $10,000. 

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Access for machinery is important, fencing improves safety.

    Environment

    Need to store and dispose of solids so not to contaminate waterways or ground water. Design it to cope with the volume and clean trap regularly to avoid overflow.

  • Yard slope

    Yard Slope

    Description

    Excessive slopes (>4%) are dangerous for cows whilst inadequate slopes (<1%) drain="" poorly="" &="" require="" more="" water="" to="">

    It is critically important to get the slope right (1 - 3%) for effective cleaning by flood wash systems. Guidelines (DairyNZ) for volume, slope and yard width have been published. Nib walls should be 200-250 mm high.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Upwards slope between 3-4% towards dairy will encourage cow flow. Single slope yards are the most popular as there are no drains to disrupt cow movement.

    Pros and Cons

    Correct slope means more efficient utilisation of available water but it is difficult and expensive to change the slope on an existing yard.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Large volumes of water are required to generate enough kinetic energy to shift solids (and so replace labour).

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

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DairyBase is a web-based tool that enables dairy farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time.

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