8 Aug 2014

Tauhara Moana - farming beside a sulphur lake

This week on the blog we have a chat with one of our central North Island customers, Gary Nant, about the challenges of farming next to Lake Rotokawa, and how the ReGen Effluent service helps him more effectively manage his effluent on a daily basis.

Gary Nant manages 1200 cows on a 409 ha dairy unit, Tauhara Moana, near Lake Rotokawa, a sulphur lake, 7km out of Taupo. The farm is one of two dairy units run by the Tauhara Moana Trust. The Trust aims to maximise profit per hectare while ensuring the land is sustainably managed. 

To help improve the efficiency of the property the trustees decided to split the original property into two dairy units last year. As part of this work a Regen effluent system was installed to support effluent irrigation decision-making. The subdivision and recommissioning of the dairy units occurred in August last year and Gary came to manage Tauhara Moana at this time.  

Previously Gary helped manage the Landcorp farm, Renown, 30 km from Taupo. It was on this property that he first used a ReGen Effluent system so he was already familiar with how it worked when he moved onto Tauhara Moana.

Most of the land on Tauhara Moana slopes down towards Lake Rotokawa. There is also about 50 ha bordering the Waikato River. The sloping land, along with the low water storage capacity of the light pumice soils, creates a challenge for managing effluent irrigation. This is especially the case after heavy or prolonged rain events with the potential for runoff or drainage to occur, carrying valuable nutrients off the farm and into Lake Rotokawa or the Waikato River. 

Given this challenge, Gary finds the daily recommendation from Regen helpful in assessing when he can irrigate. “If it’s been raining heavily or we have an adverse weather event I don’t have to guess how much I can irrigate. The Regen system tells me whether I can irrigate and what amount I can put on every day”. 

Gary finds as a result he is managing his effluent more effectively on a daily basis. He is also able to use the information ReGen Effluent provides to assist with his longer term decision-making, such as how much to extend his effluent block by if he wishes to increase his stocking rate while still meeting his resource consent requirements.

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