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Development of sustainability indicators for effluent reuse in the intensive livestock industries: Piggeries and cattle feedlots

Eugene McGahan1, Robyn Tucker2 and Justin Galloway1

1FSA Consulting, PO Box 2175, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia. Email:
FSA Consulting, 2 Lewis St, Horsham, VIC 3400, Australia.


FSA Consulting was commissioned by Australian Pork Limited (APL), Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to develop environmental sustainability indicators for the reuse of effluent and solid by-products for intensive livestock industries. A Resource Manual was prepared containing appropriate sustainability indicators for the reuse of effluent and solid by-products for piggeries and cattle feedlots. The Resource Manual draws on state, national and international research. Its development has also relied on extensive consultation with those undertaking applicable research. A number of indicators were determined for parameters including nitrogen, phosphorus, salinity and sodicity. For these sustainability indicators, trigger values have been identified to assist industry in reviewing their effluent and manure reuse forward plans. The Resource Manual also provides tools for producers to determine and demonstrate sustainability of their reuse system. The monitoring and review of these sustainability indicators will assist industry with operating environmentally sustainable operations. A risk assessment process was also developed. This risk assessment process considers the site assessment, the whole farm mass balance, the design and management of the reuse area and the sustainability indicators to decide if adverse environmental impacts are likely.

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