Best practice litter management manual for Australian meat chicken farms

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Example agreement for the removal and use of spent litter from a meat chicken farm

Adapted from form developed by the NSW DPI.

The information and conditions listed below are designed to help protect the environment; reduce impacts on individuals and communities; comply with biosecurity legislation and support the continued use of spent litter as a valuable fertiliser and soil amendment. These conditions apply to spent litter removed from meat chicken operations.

The spent litter covered by this agreement was removed on [INSERT DATE] from the meat chicken farm managed by [INSERT NAME] located at [INSERT ADDRESS].

Amount of spent litter removed: [INSERT AMOUNT]

The end-user of this spent litter accepts that:

A. Spent litter may have limitations of use under state Biosecurity legislation. Consult the relevant Biosecurity legislation in your state for local requirements.

B. The use of spent litter may be subject to limitations of use under state Waste legislation. Consult the relevant Waste legislation in your state for relevant requirements.

C. Nutrients in each batch of spent litter can be highly variable and the supplier makes no claims as to the nutrient content, quality and suitability of purpose of the litter supplied.

D. Litter should be analysed to accurately determine nutrient content.

E. Spent litter contains potentially harmful pathogens. The end-user has a duty of care to prevent illness or harm to themselves, the community and to anyone else associated with the use of the litter.

F. Spent litter contains heavy metals. Over application of litter may result in a build-up of heavy metals in soil.

G. Spent litter may be harmful to humans, animals and the environment. The end-user accepts responsibility for these risks and will take all necessary precautions to prevent harm to humans, animals and the environment.

H. Spent litter is classed as Restricted Animal Material (RAM). It is illegal to feed litter to ruminants or to allow ruminants to have access to spent litter, even if it is composted.

I. Following application a minimum 21 day withholding period should apply. Ruminants must not have access to the application sites for at least 21 days. If litter remains accessible to ruminants after 21 days the withholding period must be extended.

J. Movement of spent litter or nutrients, pathogens or any other material in litter into surface or groundwater is an offence under state Environmental Protection Acts.

K. Spent litter handling, storage and use should comply with the Best practice litter management manual for Australian meat chicken farms available on the AgriFutures Australia website.

The following specific conditions apply to the storage and use of spent litter for any purpose:

  1. Spent litter should not be stored or spread within 300m of poultry sheds.
  2. Litter which has not been fully pasteurised or composted should not be stored or spread on areas adjacent to poultry farms.
  3. Litter storage and/or processing areas:
    a. Should be placed as far away as practicable from residences not associated with the property
    b. Must not be accessible to ruminant livestock
    c. Should have an impermeable base to prevent nutrient leaching and groundwater contamination
    d. Should have a diversion bank above the site to prevent stormwater from entering the storage site
    e. Should be bunded to contain and divert contaminated runoff from the stored litter
    f. Should capture any contaminated runoff from the storage site in a dam, pond or equivalent structure.
  4. Do not spread raw spent litter directly onto emerging crops or onto vegetables or horticultural produce. For current guidelines and withholding periods consult Freshcare or other accredited fresh produce codes of practice.
  5. Paddocks receiving litter should be soil tested at least every 3 years to monitor nutrient and heavy metal levels.
  6. Application rates should not exceed the nutrient requirements of the plants over the long-term. This should account for the safe storage of phosphorus in soil between application events and for the plants ability to use the available nitrogen in the litter. This nutrient budget should be based on soil test results, together with documented agronomic advice.
  7. Spreaders or equivalent equipment should be properly calibrated to ensure litter is correctly and uniformly applied.
  8. Litter material and nutrients and pathogens from litter must not enter surface or groundwater. Avoid spreading litter in drainage lines and depressions which funnel surface water into waterways. Litter should not be spread close to waterways, dams and drainage areas. A minimum 20m buffer distance is recommended from waterways, dams and drainage areas. Where the potential of water and nutrient and other contaminants being entrained in the runoff is greater (e.g. sloping paddocks, poor groundcover, high risk of erosion) a wider buffer distance is required. Greater distances are required when spreading litter in the vicinity of waterways or water storages that provide public drinking water supplies. Consult with the local water authority to clarify the distance required.
  9. Vehicles which transport and spread spent litter must be covered to reduce odour, dust and pollution.
  10. Avoid spreading litter too close to neighbouring residences. Inform neighbours when spreading, and avoid spreading on weekends if neighbours may be impacted.
  11. Monitor weather conditions and forecasts. Avoid spreading in windy conditions that may result in dust or odour drift.
  12. Do not spread when rainwater runoff is forecast or expected, for example just prior to or during heavy rainfall.
  13. Keep accurate records of dates and locations when spreading litter.

I [INSERT NAME] am the person removing litter from the meat chicken farm and accept and understand the conditions listed above. If I am not the end-user I accept responsibility for providing a copy of this agreement to the end-user of the spent litter.



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