Since the inception of Alpha Electrical in 1986, we have been installing and maintaining effluent systems on dairy farms. There has been a surge in new systems in recent years, with Environment Waikato working hard to make dairy farmers compliant with new environmental regulations.
This has brought about a rapid increase in technology surrounding effluent management, with fully automated systems, adjustable flow and application rate, feed pad flood wash and many more options to free up time for farmers. We build and install a wide range of systems, from the very basic to the fully automated. Below are a few examples of recent projects we have completed.
Basic Effluent System in Te Kowhai, Hamilton
This is a great example of just how basic and affordable an effluent system can be. Effluent gravity feeds into the single sump from the cow shed, via a sand trap. From here it is either pumped out onto the pasture, or up to a storage pond, controlled by a tap. Another tap allows effluent to flow from the storage pond back into the sump, so that the pond can be emptied out in the summer.
Fully Automated System in Tatuanui, Morrinsville
The manager of this farm loves this new system, because it takes care of a few of the horrible jobs he used to have to do! Completed in 2015 in conjunction with Agfirst Engineering, this effluent system showcases just how much you can automate. Touch screen control allows the farmer full control over the system, and gives a comprehensive display of what it is currently doing.
Here are just some of its features:
- Automatic separation system – gives the farmer a spreadable solid to put on his crop, extends the lifespan of pumps and valve gear. An automated spray pump cleans the seperator out periodically
- Green water flood wash – washes down the feed pad, and automatically refills itself, saving time scraping it down every day
- Selectable irrigation lines – the touch screen controls automated valves, allowing the farmer to choose which side of the farm the effluent will be spread on
- Advanced pump protection – along with standard over-current control, pumps and stirrers contain moisture meters and thermal protection to lessen costly malfunctions. The irrigation pump is also protected against over-pressure and loss of flow
- Flow meters – let the farmer know how much green water has been applied down each irrigation line, as well as giving an instantaneous flow rate
- Fault display – fault light alerts the farmer to problems, and the touch screen displays the nature of the fault, and actions needed to remedy it
VSD control – variable speed drives ease the load on pumps and the separator, and maximise efficiency, reducing power costs
We also integrate GSM modems into many of our effluent control boxes. This allows the farmer to remotely start and stop the irrigation pump or separator via text message, or to reset any faults. It will also notify the farmer of any faults with a detailed text message.
The sky really is the limit with this technology. A simple text message can start or stop any part of the process, and the controller can be programmed to send you a text message to notify you of any change, start, stop or fault.
This technology really comes into its own when the system needs to be started or stopped from a remote location. An example would be a farmer hooking the travelling irrigator up to the hydrant. He can then start the system via a quick text message, rather than going all the way back to the control box or cow shed.