Landowners: Robert & Jo Brown, Tui Ridge Farms

Location: Te Kauwhata

Property Type: Dairy Farm

Challenge / Project

Robert Brown contacted Robert, with a requirement to increase the removal of pollutants in their existing effluent pond. Robert the farm owner is proactive in preparing his farm to meet the ever-changing environmental requirements and regulations. Robert wanted a system that would aid in the removal of nitrogen and phosphates – they wanted to create a habitat for microorganisms and bacteria to attach to, to increase the break down of solids. Robert the farm owner is always looking for ways to enhance his farm and to reduce the environmental footprint.

“In 2013, Robert at NativeAwa spent time with us. We had been watching a project that NativeAwa had completed at another farm in the area and the fast root growth of plants under the rafts over the first 10 days was impressive. The wetlands are situated in the canal backing onto our dairy farm. The growth was around 9 cm! Which confirmed for us how efficient the raft plant floating wetland system is.”

Solution

“Robert at NativeAwa guided us every step of the way. Initially he spent plenty of time consulting to us, and making sure the solution was going to work optimally for us. He understood us and he understands farming, which was refreshing. He and his team installed the Floating Wetland System into our smaller effluent pond. We like the fact that we’re using a New Zealand-made product. The beauty of NativeAwa’s floating wetland system is that it gives maximum use to farmland – it is installed within our pond, turning an unusable, unproductive area into productive area. We’ve again seen fast growth of the plants root system, which is providing a reduction of nitrogen levels and positive environmental impact. When our pond requires emptying, NativeAwa’s system is so robust that the pond can easily be dragged aside, which is exactly what we wanted. While the team was onsite they also planted an area below the overflow drainage to pick up any excess overflow, which is a preventative measure in the unlikely event that overflow occurs. However, this will assist in a reduction of contamination of waterways if this is the case. Robert often calls in to check up on things – he goes “above and beyond”. He and his team take pride in their work and the aftercare is excellent. During the project, they were prompt, efficient and organised and the disruption to our farm activities was minimal. He’s got a great team of workers who were respectful while on our farm.”

“Robert knows his stuff when it comes to any wetland projects and his practical ability on the farm and passion for the environment is apparent. The aftercare has been excellent, Robert calls in regularly to check how things are going, this is not something many people do now days”

“The long-term benefits are ongoing – so far we can report the following:

  • The rafts have provided a robust support for the plant growth
  • We’ve noticed a reduction in odour
  • The root system is growing well – increasing the opportunity for nitrate uptake and is providing a substantial surface area for microbes and bacteria to grow, breaking down waste
  • It looks great!”

 Robert Brown – farm owner