Climate change projections suggest we will experience warmer, wetter winters. This could increase the proportion of dirty water and slurry we have to deal with around the steading.
Following heavy rain, take a look at the route runoff takes around the steading or areas where water accumulates. Could you reduce the volume or divert clean rainwater runoff?
- Roof water – make sure gutters are clear and fitted to serviceable downpipes to get the water straight into the drains and off the steading. Some farmers are already fitting larger sized guttering and down pipes on new buildings to deal with increased rainfall.
- Is ‘clean’ rainfall contributing to your collection systems? Calculations on a SW Dairy farm suggested that this was costing around £0.93/m3 to handle, store, transport and spread.
- A constructed farm wetland may be suitable to take lightly contaminated water from around the steading, rather than diverting to slurry collection systems. Other RSuDS (Rural Sustainable Drainage Systems) may also be worth considering and could attract AECS grant funding support.
- Where possible, make sure slurry storage systems are empty going into the housed period. Use a RAMS map to identify low-risk areas for spreading, should you be forced to put slurry out over the winter months with no crop demand.
The Scottish Government's 4 Point Plan contains other practical ideas to make best use of nutrients and calculate and reduce rainwater volume around the steading.