Farmers urged to check dam water quality

29 Feb, 2012 02:00 AM
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FARMERS in the Central Agricultural Region are being advised to check dam water quality following heavy rains during recent months.

Department of Agriculture and Food development officer Damian Priest said the movement of water containing sediment, dissolved salts and nutrients may have led to algal blooms in some dams.

“Algal blooms in the dam water can be toxic to stock,” he said. “They are usually caused by debris and nutrients being washed into dams, following heavy summer rainfall.

“To avoid stock ill health or death, remove floating debris as soon as possible, and treat dams that have signs of algal blooms. These signs are usually discolouration, foul smell or livestock suffering health issues.

“Monitoring water points regularly is advisable throughout the warmer weather as blooms may begin at any time.”

Mr Priest said there were several treatments available, including simazine and barley straw. In emergency situations where water is required immediately, other treatments such as chlorination can be used.

Department farmnotes are available to explain each treatment, which can be downloaded from the department website www.agric.wa.gov.au under publications/farmnotes.

Useful farmnotes include Emergency chlorination of farm water (44/2004), Toxic algal blooms (52/2004), and Water quality for domestic and livestock use (43/2004).

The department continues to support the State’s agricultural industries through encouraging the sustainable management of land and water resources.

WA Department of Agriculture and FoodSource: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

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