Novel manure management technologies for an intensifying dairy industry (2016-17)

Project outcomes

Sponsored by Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)

This project is proudly funded and supported by The Gardiner Foundation

Team members: 
  • Daniel Jarrad
    Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) 
  • Hardik (Harry) Trivedi 
    Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) / Bachelor of Commerce
  • Kalidu Jayasuria 
    Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) / Bachelor of Science
  • Michael Ealey 
    Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) / Bachelor of Phramaceutical Science

Project title: 
Novel manure management technologies for an intensifying dairy industry
Description of the project: 

Despite current milk prices, the scale of interest in dairy developments in Australia is unprecedented with dairy witnessing systems exceeding 5,000 animals being planned and implemented. Over 2015, Agriculture Victoria undertook various discussions with potential investors, which revealed planning for 70 freestall barns with 220,000 cows fully housed on only seventeen properties. This ongoing intensification of Victorian dairy production has resulted in a continuing trend towards systems where cows spend more ‘time-off’ paddocks (nationally 33% of dairy farms have feed pads) coupled with a growing need for improved capture, storage and sustainable land applications of animal excreta.

Traditional dairy effluent (manure and water) capture systems have relied on two pond systems to capture such waste. With an increase in herd size and increased time off paddock the volume of effluent collected is increasing and these traditional systems are no longer viable. While there are alternate options being used overseas which seek to separate liquid and solid phases of effluent, their suitability under Australian conditions has not been tested. Furthermore, a key aspect of any system should be the ability to re-use the collected effluent for agronomic purposes, thus reducing external nutrient inputs (e.g. fertiliser use).

This project would seek to review effluent management options and there applicability in an Australian dairy context from a storage perspective, minimisation of losses and subsequent land application. Options will include the ability to separate liquid and solid phases and use both within and external to the farm boundary. Implicit in designs will be considerations of nutrient loadings for soil types.

Project brief

Project brief

Sponsored by Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)

This project is proudly funded and supported by The Gardiner Foundation

Location: 
Ellinbank, West Gippsland (Regional Victoria)
Description of the project: 

Despite current milk prices, the scale of interest in dairy developments in Australia is unprecedented with dairy witnessing systems exceeding 5,000 animals being planned and implemented. Over 2015, Agriculture Victoria undertook various discussions with potential investors, which revealed planning for 70 freestall barns with 220,000 cows fully housed on only seventeen properties. This ongoing intensification of Victorian dairy production has resulted in a continuing trend towards systems where cows spend more ‘time-off’ paddocks (nationally 33% of dairy farms have feed pads) coupled with a growing need for improved capture, storage and sustainable land applications of animal excreta.

Traditional dairy effluent (manure and water) capture systems have relied on two pond systems to capture such waste. With an increase in herd size and increased time off paddock the volume of effluent collected is increasing and these traditional systems are no longer viable. While there are alternate options being used overseas which seek to separate liquid and solid phases of effluent, their suitability under Australian conditions has not been tested. Furthermore, a key aspect of any system should be the ability to re-use the collected effluent for agronomic purposes, thus reducing external nutrient inputs (e.g. fertiliser use).

This project would seek to review effluent management options and there applicability in an Australian dairy context from a storage perspective, minimisation of losses and subsequent land application. Options will include the ability to separate liquid and solid phases and use both within and external to the farm boundary. Implicit in designs will be considerations of nutrient loadings for soil types.

Project outcomes

This project has been closed
Project Aims: 

Students will be required to: 

  • Identify novel manure technologies for intensive pasture based dairy systems
  • Identify capture and re-use options for dairy manure
  • identify tools to assist in managing nutrient loads at a farm level
Faculty or Department: 
Engineering-Civil
Engineering-Environmental
Engineering-Mechanical
Information Technology
Science
Disciplines: 
Biological Science
Chemical Engineering
Chemistry
Civil Engineering
Environmental Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Software Development & Software Engineering
Sector: 
Agriculture
Government
Employment Type: 
Scholarship
Selection Criteria: 
Your application will be reviewed by senior faculty members and assessed against the following criteria:
  • Quality of covering letter, resume and on-line application form including spelling & grammar
  • Relevance of your degree to the project(s) you select
  • Skills, ability, knowledge and experience relevant to the project (s) you apply for
  • Extra - curricular activities (i.e. sports/clubs & societies/memberships)
  • Career goals & ambitions
  • Academic performance
  • Successful completion of group activity
  • Successful interview with industry partner

 Please note:

  • Scope for MITI projects are determined by the industry partners, this includes student disciplines and whether they require students at undergraduate, Masters or PhD level.
  • The final selection of the MITI project team will be made by the industry partner.
  • Each industry project will run for 12 weeks over the summer vacation period that is December 2016 through to February 2017.
  • If selected you must be available and agree to commit for the entire 12 week period. 
Duration: 
12 weeks
Max number of recipients: 
4
Application process: 

Applications are submitted online via the MITI website and must include a cover letter (no more than one page) and current CV.

Your cover letter should include the following information:

  • why the project is of particular interest to you
  • an outline of relevant experience either through vacation work, study or other extra curricula activities
  • what you can contribute as a member of the team

Prior to applying for this opportunity please consider the location of the project. Ellinbank is situated in West Gippsland, (Regional Victoria) approximately 113kms from Melbourne CBD. You will be required to live away from home for the duration of the project therefore own transport will be required. 

  • Suitable local accommodation + an appropriate travel allowance will be provided.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) was established by the Victorian Government on 1 January 2015.

The government created the department to bring together many of the key functions that drive economic development and job creation across Victoria. These include transport and ports, investment attraction and facilitation, trade, innovation, regional development and small business, together with key services to sectors such as agriculture, the creative industries, resources and tourism.

The department supports nine ministers, spans 13 portfolios and operates in more than 80 locations in Victoria and 22 offices around the world.
Agriculture Victoria works with the agriculture and fisheries industries on research, development and extension to improve production, connect the sector with international markets, support development and maintain effective biosecurity controls.