‘Securing water for a rainfed dairy farm’ takes producers through the critical steps of farm water planning and encourages them to assess how much on-farm water they have and how long it will last over a prolonged dry period.
Agriculture Victoria Dairy Extension Officer Benita Kelsall said the booklet provides producers with the tools they need to inspect their water storages and encourages them to plan ahead for peak demands from livestock.
“Knowing your stock drinking water requirements and potential sources of water are important for planning both annual and daily supply needs.
“When dam levels are quite low, water quality can be quite poor, which in turn can affect livestock health,” Ms Kelsall said.
Other strategies examined in the booklet include the many licensing considerations that need to be taken into account when identifying alternative water supplies.
“Conserving water will also help to delay potential water shortages if dam water is used.
“However, if producers are considering alternative water sources they should take into account that it takes time to obtain relevant permissions.
“Other strategies such as fixing leaking troughs and pipes, recycling water in the dairy for yard cleaning, reducing flow rates on platform sprays in rotary sheds, providing shade for stock and consolidating water in deeper dams can all help.
“Planning ahead allows producers to map out their water needs for six to twelve months or longer, particularly if there is little or no runoff expected,” she said.
‘Securing Water for a rainfed dairy farm’ has been produced by Agriculture Victoria in partnership with GippsDairy.
Ms Kelsall said that as well as providing strategies for longer-term planning options, the booklet provides a process that can be worked through when faced with an immediate water crisis such as running out of water in the short-term.
The booklet also identifies where a license may be needed, and which agency should be consulted. It has a focus on rainfed dairy systems outside irrigation districts.
For a copy contact Benita Kelsall from Agriculture Victoria on (03) 5624 2218 or download a copy from agriculture.vic.gov.au/farm-water-resources.