Outdoor rotational piggeries in WA under DWER spotlight

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is currently looking into whether outdoor rotational piggeries, which have grown beyond a particular scope, should be licensed in WA. Existing outdoor rotational and those in proposal phase are under the spotlight.   

Here’s what you need to know.

What is DWER looking into?

DWER is concerned that some outdoor rotational piggeries in WA have grown under the radar, with no operational control. As a result, they have started looking into existing and proposed outdoor rotational piggeries to determine whether they should be licensed.

DWER has been requesting more information from outdoor rotational piggeries, including site details, Environmental Management Plans and Operational Plans. This is being used to determine if a piggery falls within exemption guidelines, or whether it should be licensed as an intensive piggery.

Genuine outdoor rotational piggeries typically do not require a license. However, if they grow to include elements of an intensive piggery, they are required by DWER to be licensed.

What is an intensive piggery?

An intensive piggery is described in Categories 2 and 69 of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 (EP Regulations).

Category 2 states that an intensive piggery is a premises on which pigs are fed, watered, and housed in pens, with a production or design capacity of 1,000* animals or more.

Category 69 states that an intensive piggery is also a premises on which pigs are fed, watered, and housed in pens, but with a production or design capacity of more than 500, but less than 1,000 animals.

Any premises in WA that falls within the scope of categories 2 and 69 is considered a prescribed premises and is regulated by DWER under Part V of the Environmental Protect Act 1986 (EP Act).

* Total pig numbers are determined using Standard Pig Units (as defined by National Environmental Guidelines for Indoor Piggeries (NEGIP)).

Further interpretation

According to the Industry Regulation Intensive Piggery Fact Sheet, published by DWER, an intensive piggery is an operation where pigs are fed, watered, and housed for purposes of production, relying primarily on prepared and manufactured feed or rations to meet their nutritional requirements.

DWER also considers intensive piggeries to include indoor and outdoor piggeries that are ‘conventional’ piggeries, ‘deep litter’ (eco shelter) piggeries, and ‘feedlot outdoor’ piggeries, as defined by NEGIP.

Why is DWER looking into outdoor rotational piggeries?

DWER has identified that some outdoor rotational piggeries in WA have grown in scope, and now fall within the description of an intensive piggery. According to DWER, there is a risk that intensive piggeries can cause pollution or environmental harm if they are not regulated and managed appropriately.

DWER seeks to mitigate the risk of emissions and discharges from intensive piggeries, including odour, solid and liquid wastes (like manure, spent bedding, effluent and carcasses), noise, potentially contaminated stormwater, biogas and dust.

What is the impact on piggeries in WA?

It is possible that some existing outdoor rotational piggeries will be required to prepare a detailed Environmental Management Plan, addressing site operations and nutrient export. If DWER determines your site falls within the ambit of an intensive piggery, or is likely to have an environmental impact, they may also require you to apply for a license.

What if my piggery requires a license?

If you need support with applying for a license or preparing works approvals for a new or existing piggery, we can assist you. This includes Environmental Management Plans, which are incredibly useful for outdoor piggeries, regardless of whether a license is officially required. Our team has worked in the sector for many years, and can also prepare detailed Environmental Management Plans that comply with DWER guidelines, while providing onsite guidance for farm operations.

For more information, please get in touch.

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