The control or monitoring of effluent is a pivotal point in the design of a farm's effluent system. A large scale dairy effluent system can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars when you take into account sand traps, sumps, weeping walls, storage ponds, hydrants, lines, irrigators and pumps to move it all around. It's a large upfront capital expense, so you want to get it right the first time and save yourself the hassle of having to make changes to your effluent system later down the track.
So how exactly do you monitor how well an effluent system is performing? Glancing over your shoulder and seeing a brown spray from your irrigator a couple of paddocks away thinking that looks OK isn’t going to cut it with a council environment officer. Prompted by public concerns over water quality, regional councils are becoming increasingly stringent on effluent consents. They need to see data on things like application depth and rate, irrigator maintenance and training, plus records of where and when the irrigator’s been running.
Effluent is best controlled where it’s applied, and that’s in the paddock, not kilometres away back at the pump. After all, that’s were a farmer goes to check how his effluent’s going. That’s the difference between effluent monitoring and pump monitoring. Some systems come with a flow meter and pressure gauge connected to a control panel in the pump shed. The main point of these pump monitoring systems is to save the pump from destroying itself from running dry due to loss of prime or over-pressuring due to a blockage.
Such systems do not accurately take into account small fluctuations in effluent application that occur in the paddock. Knowing the pressure at the pump is meaningless compared to what’s happening in the paddock. The Farmtrenz system utilises radio telemetry with sophisticated electronic monitoring devices on the irrigator as well as the pump, giving you full control. It can quickly sense when there’s a leak at a pod coupling, or when a travelling irrigator has slowed due to slipping teeth on the drum or, in the worst case, stopped mid-run when the cable’s snapped.
All this information is sent from our TIM, KIM or PIM irrigator monitors back to the Hub central controller in the cowshed. If pressure or speed readings fall out of pre-set parameters the Hub will tell our PondLink controller to shut the pump down, saving the farmer from the dreaded ‘dirty donut’ and effluent run-off into streams.
Further, a farmer can see what’s happening with the effluent system via Farmtrenz software on his cowshed computer connected to the Hub. You can view performance graphically in real time or historically, and log the data for council compliance.
Proven over 10 years, call Farmtrenz for a no-obligation Field Strength Test on how well your effluent system’s going.