Effluent System Design

Installing or upgrading a dairy farm effluent system is a big investment, so get some professional advice and do your own research to inform your decision making.

Step-by-step design

Step 1: Basics

To develop an effective dairy effluent system, consider the following: soil type, distance to waterways, how to integrate into existing infrastructure, and the strategies for fertiliser application and irrigation.

Step 2: Consultants

The design of an effluent system is complex and the cost of getting it wrong are significant. That is why it is a good idea to consult service providers who are suitably trained in the field.

Step 3: Site-specific plan

For new dairy farm businesses or major effluent system upgrades, it is recommended to have a site-specific Effluent Management Plan that outlines all aspects of the dairy effluent system. This includes capture, containment, treatment and reuse, potential risks to the environment and/or neighbours, and mitigation measures. In the design process, it is also important to factor in future intensions for the farm, such as a change in cow numbers, additional feedpads or expansion plans.

Step 4: Service providers

Talk with an Agriculture Victoria service provider, all of which are nationally recognised in Design Livestock Effluent Systems and competent in:

  • Industry guidelines and design tools.
  • Soils and climatic considerations.
  • Auditing wastewater generation.
  • Appropriate pond storage volumes.
  • Estimation of nutrient reuse areas for distribution systems.


Farmers can also receive support from Dairy Australia’s farm system experts by attending a two-day workshop. It offers a great opportunity to connect with and learn from other farmers that are considering a farm system change.

The workshop will enable farmers to:

  • Outline their business objectives to determine the most suitable farm system.
  • Share initial versions of their strategic and action plans for group feedback.
  • Make an informed decision about the options and considerations for investing in a new system.
  • Get ready to start the planning, implementation and operation of their chosen system.

Register your interest in future workshops or request further information using the form below.

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