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Effluent Flo - An automated solution for effluent distribution at different paddock altitudes

Published In: Products Created Date: 2022-04-18

Effluent Flo optimises the dispersion of effluent on a dairy farm while protecting pipes.

Dairy Farmers are often concerned with finding ways to save water and improve effluent disposal. Managing effluent water consumption on a dairy farm is not difficult, it just requires some forethought, dedication and effort.

This article is for the dairy farmer who wants to automate their operation further.

The team of innovators at John Brooks Limited is led by third-generation Managing Director, Karl Brooks. Karl is at the forefront of developing practical equipment to help save time, energy and water when it comes to dairy farming.

Who is John Brooks Limited?

John Brooks Limited is an industrial automation specialist supplier and manufacturer.

One of our most developed ranges includes specialised controllers for milk pumps and vacuum pumps which have been used by New Zealand farmers for over 30 years.

Most dairy farmers in New Zealand are already using one of our pump controllers. While you might already own one of our pump controllers, you might have not realized it’s manufactured by John Brooks. This is because we work with over 50 distributors nationwide to deliver machinery and parts to farms just like yours.

Reliable, Reputable, Respectful. These are the core values that influence the design of our products.

Every type of machinery we design and manufacture is created in response to a pressing need or challenge, experienced by many. Often at times, there is no specialised equipment to do the right job. This becomes a starting point for our team to design and develop a solution.

We are able to uncover such pressing needs and challenges because our team stays in close touch with a wide range of industries, including dairy. Being in touch with hundreds of dairy farms over the years meant it was possible to identify critical areas where industrial automation solutions could provide meaningful measurable impact.

Effluent water management is one of those mission-critical areas because, unlike plain water, effluent water management is controlled to avoid damage to crops soils and waterways. Getting it right is an ongoing time and effort consuming challenge.

These days water consumption is one of the hot topics. The challenges are not new, but the awareness is growing and there is now more government involvement and regulations when it comes to water consumption and use. Another reason to consider an automated solution is that it will ensure that the right amount of effluent water is used and that there is sufficient pumping capacity to deliver water to paddocks at different altitudes.

That is why our latest product development happened to be in the area of developing a Dairy Effluent Pump Controller System EFFLUENT FLO that allows smart farmers to conserve energy and water while using effluent water in a controlled manner. Best of all our solution supports uneven landscape allowing even water distribution to paddocks at different altitudes.

Good effluent management is a combination of having a well-designed effluent system and processes for dairy farmers that make sure the effluent the system collects is applied to pasture in the right amount at the right time according to local regulations.

Introduction to EFFLUENT-FLO - Dairy Fluid Pump Controller System to Conserve Energy & Water. Designed and manufactured by John Brooks Limited.

EFFLUENT FLO pump controller system helps dairy farmers to save scarce water supply because it monitors pressure and volume to pump precisely regulated amounts of effluent to paddocks at different altitudes using existing pumps and pipes delivery operations.

With our uneven New Zealand landscape, it is usually challenging to ensure the right amount of effluent is pumped to fields located at different altitudes and distances away from the pump.

This challenge requires constant human monitoring of effluent distribution and may result in inconsistent or incorrect effluent supply. That might result in a harmful overdose of effluent and loss of crop or even fines for misuse of effluent.

Therefore, we have designed and manufactured a special effluent pump controller EFFLUENT FLO, which can deliver an accurate amount of effluent output every single time.

EFFLUENT FLO is a perfect addon to increase the productivity of existing pumps and offers a complete control system with optional accessories for Remote Start and Stop and Stirrer kits available to run stirrers within the effluent pond.

The intention is to help dairy farmers to establish a remotely controlled effluent distribution system, which is reliable, precise and takes into account the natural landscape and different altitudes of the farmland.

EFFLUENT FLO is suitable for use in all types of dairy farms. Whether you have a small farm with 16 cows or a herd of 10,000, we can offer a complete solution to help you be more in control of your effluent spreading needs.

EFFLUENT FLO allows you to control and measure the flow and the pressure (volume) of the effluent to each irrigation zone through a network of valves and flow meters.

This makes it possible to use effluent to irrigate and create a higher crop yield and better quality at a lower cost.


John Brooks team believes that there are three good reasons every Dairy Farmer needs to consider the use of a solution like EFFLUENT-FLO:


1.Dairy farmers can save thousands of dollars by installing effluent distribution systems.


Managing better distribution of effluent water means a positive contribution to running a successful Dairy Farm. EFFLUENT FLO is an innovative yet simple, affordable and reliable alternative to a traditional hunch-based manually controlled approach to the effluent pumping process.

The traditional manual approach provides no guarantee that a sufficient or correct amount of water will be delivered to the fields. Since it becomes too complex to figure out how much effluent is needed for fields at different altitudes, many farms suffer from a lack of nutrients to grow better crops or loss of crops due to overdoing it.

Controlling the volume of effluent delivered to the fields is one of those tasks which cannot be done properly without thorough rough calculations or a well-developed gut feel. In this day and age, every farm will be better off capitalising on the robust automation approach with the use of controllers, developed by the John Brooks team.

Therefore, there is an immediate measurable cost-benefit of EFFLUENT FLO for dairy farmers who are interested in saving money by using less water, because of these main reasons:

  • A one-time investment in equipment and installation to reduce monthly costs for years ahead.
  • Reduce costs related to the purchase of water and electricity.
  • Increased compliance while using effluent by able to record amount distributed per paddock, save on potential fines
  • Lowers Operational costs
  • Protection from Pipe bursts, Pipe blockages and Pump run dry protection.
  • Allow to take the expensive effluent and optimise its resource into a source of revenue.
  • Increases the efficiency of the effluent use by allowing the farmer to determine the precise irrigation schedule, the water pressure and flow rate for every field, taking into account the altitude of the field.
  • Eliminates the cost of irrigation service and the need for diesel-powered pumps ( these can still be a backup).
  • Improved water and nutrient utilisation for increased profits.


2.Managed effluent water means reduced environmental impact and compliance costs


EFFLUENT FLO allows crops to irrigate with effluent instead of freshwater. It is regarded as a more sustainable and cheaper way to irrigate.

The main purpose of an effluent distribution system is to provide enough water for the effluent pond to work effectively. The effluent ponds are designed to contain the wastewater from dairy cows and other animals. The design of the effluent distribution system must be able to prevent wastewater from seeping into the ground and polluting groundwater and nearby streams.

To reduce environmental impact and compliance costs, dairy farmers need a system that distributes effluent water in the right amount into the paddocks, which should be able to distribute water when ranges from paddocks are at different heights and head pressure.

EFFLUENT FLO has been purposely designed to provide a solution that meets these requirements, especially for such an uneven landscape as New Zealand pasture.


3.Automation of effluent water distribution means saving energy and physical labour.


There are several reasons why EFFLUENT FLO ensures more optimal use of effluent water and less physical labour needed.

First, let’s explore power savings and optimising the use of effluent water.

Usually, pumps are sized for the worst-case scenario, ie to be able to achieve sufficient pressure at a certain head (height) and distance from the pump. That means most of the time the pump is using more energy than is required.

In case someone is wondering how much more energy is spent/wasted when the pump is set to operate at the worst-case scenario capacity, here is an easy to follow calculation.

Did you know that when a centrifugal pump is used there is a cubed relationship of motor speed to motor power? That means when we reduce the speed of the motor by ½ (half the motor speed from 100% to 50%), we only need 1/8 th of the power required to run it at 100%.

This calculation is based on the assumption of keeping the flow rate constant for a lower altitude or distance paddock from the pump.

Imagine running the pump at 100% all the time across all paddocks vs reducing motor speed up to 50% on lower and close to the pump paddocks where less effort is required to deliver water.

Reducing power consumption down to 1/8 th can provide noticeable savings on the power bill and better use of resources. Because reducing the speed of the motor leads to pumping enough water without overdoing it as it happens when the pump is operating at 100% capacity delivering effluent to lower paddocks.

New Zealand's uneven landscape means that almost every farm has a certain number of lower paddocks so it is reasonable to suggest that almost every farm can enjoy power savings when there is automated control installed.

Now let’s check the opportunities to save on physical labour. Considering the current shortage of seasonal labour, the ability to save is worth exploring.

K Line Spreading on a Dairy farm

Managing K-Lines can take a lot of time and effort on a daily basis. That is why farmers look for ways to minimise the amount of shifting of K-Lines required.

If there is an ability to adjust the Radius of spread to fertilise the grass of the paddock, then it is possible to identify the optimal radius for every farm and minimise the number of K-Lines shifting, thus saving countless hours of physical labour. This means that instead of shifting of K-Lines every so many days, they can be placed correctly once for the season.

Imagine if there will be a way to keep the further paddock utilising 100% of motor speed and have the ability to overspeed or lower the motor speed if required within current draw limits. That will result in closer paddocks or lower altitude paddocks the flow rate will allow the motor to dynamically reduce the speed and to keep the pressure/flow rate constant for the spreader.  If a travelling irrigator is used, running above its pressure/ or flow rate will keep it under control.

It is pretty clear that less physical labour is required when there is an automated control from a system like EFFLUENT FLO.

In the nutshell, the benefits of installing an EFFLUENT FLO Dairy Fluid Pump Controller on a Dairy Farm can be summarised as follows:

  1. EFFLUENT-FLO allows you to distribute the optimal amount of effluent to fields with no downtime or maintenance, year after year, offering power savings compared to a traditional solution.
  2. EFFLUENT-FLO Dairy Fluid Pump Controller can save thousands of dollars in irrigation costs by watering pasture grasses instead of the wasted flush water that runs into the ditches without the need of changing the existing pump and pipes.
  3. EFFLUENT-FLO works with other effluent separation equipment, ensuring effluent is distributed evenly to the pastures even at different altitudes.
  4. With an EFFLUENT-FLO installed you can start saving money from day one.
  5. Compatible with all existing types of effluent pumps.

By now you might be wondering how to get started with getting EFFLUENT FLO onto your farm?

You can reach out to your equipment dairy supplier because chances are they are already distributors of John Brooks products. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact one of our branches located in Auckland – Wellington – Christchurch for prompt, friendly, professional advice.