New filtration technology trialled for water management on dairy farms

The Western Australian government has partnered with an Augusta community group in a trial of new technology that aims to better manage dairy farm effluent to protect local waterways.

The six-month $180,000 trial of the Z-Filter separator is the first time the technology has been tested on dairy farms in Australia. The Z-Filter uses advanced filtration technology to capture solids while allowing water to pass through a filter element, making it usable in reticulation.

The trial is being led by Augusta Margaret River Clean Community Energy Incorporated (AMRCCE) and involves installing a Z-Filter at a dairy farm in the Scott River area, east of Augusta.

The trial will determine if dairy effluent can be efficiently and economically separated into liquid filtrate and stackable manure solids for potential reuse as fertiliser.

State water minister Dave Kelly said that the technology had had the potential to improve effluent management in order to protect the state’s waterways and make dairy farming more sustainable.

“As part of this trial, scientists will examine on-farm data to determine if manure separation can provide a real alternative in dairy effluent management,” Kelly said.

“This could greatly reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions produced by dairy farms, and help keep nutrients and organic materials out of our waterways, and is just one way the State Government is supporting sustainable agriculture in Western Australia.”

If viable, the innovative process could be used across Western Australian dairies, protecting our waterways, improving farm efficiencies, boosting local employment and reducing methane emissions from the agricultural sector.

The state government is contributing $135,000 towards the trial and AMRCCE are providing $45,000.