Getting the message out about stock truck effluent

Although Regional Councils are not road controlling authorities and stock truck effluent spilled onto a road is most likely to be damaging the asset of a District Council, Regional Councils throughout New Zealand have been coordinating and managing activities relating to the control and disposal of stock effluent in their regions.  Some regions, such as Otago and Taranaki, have developed comprehensive networks of publicly available effluent disposal facilities, while others, like Auckland, have much fewer problems from stock effluent.

Environment Waikato won the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport 2011 Award for Implementation and Practice for its Regional Stock Effluent Strategy.  Read more about the Strategy.

The NSEWG coordinated an annual meeting of regional council officers with prime responsibility for controlling/managing stock effluent, as a way of sharing activities, solutions, and other concerns and developing coordinated national solutions.

National Advertising Campaigns

Following a very successful campaign in Southland in 2009, with all sectors playing their part in minimising the spillage of stock effluent on to roads, the NSEWG decided to expand the campaign to other regions.  In 2013 a radio campaign to raise awareness in time for the peak transporting season was run on local commercial stations in the principal dairying regions.  This was further expanded in 2014 to a fully national campaign on commercial radio stations in all regions (Read report on 2014 advertising campaign) and repeated in May 2015.  See “Effluent management: it doesn’t stop at the farm gate” advertisements from Waikato region.

Southland Regional Campaign

Every year thousands of cattle are transported across Southland on or about the first of June for winter grazing. In the past, it has been a concern for Southlanders, with stock effluent spillages on roads being a driving hazard and a nuisance.

Early in 2009, Southland local authorities, Fonterra, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers NZ, NZ Road Transport Association and NZ Transport Agency joined forces to educate Southland farmers about standing stock and to encourage truck drivers to unload effluent from their holding tanks at temporary disposal facilities.

Temporary facilities for effluent disposal were made available in Lumsden, Mossburn, Centre Bush, Ryal Bush, Wairio and Gore. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Transport Agency continued to develop a network of permanent sites with funding assistance from Environment Southland.

Farmers were advised to stand their stock off green feed for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 12 hours before they were transported. In addition, the public was encouraged to call Environment Southland’s pollution hotline with any concerns about effluent spillage, and compliance officers were on hand to follow up with enforcement action.

The Southland Stock Effluent Working Group developed an educational campaign, with:

  • Advertisements featuring local farmers speaking on their own commitment to standing stock before transport
  • Articles in newsletters of all organisations
  • Information on websites, at libraries, rural suppliers, vet clinics etc
  • A factsheet about standing stock issued by the dairy sector
  • Reminders from the dairy companies on tanker dockets.