November update: Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager

Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager Kevin Heays

Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager Kevin Heays

Pete Bradshaw, our land management advisor, is working with local farmers to undertake effluent testing on dairy farms across the Kaikōura Flats.

Effluent testing is needed to help farmers understand how their system operates and ensures they have good data to help them through their audit process.

How and why we test

This work follows ongoing irrigation ‘bucket testing’ that Pete and our local farmers completed earlier in the year in conjunction with Kaikōura Plains Recovery Project.

The method remains largely the same – buckets are placed under the effluent irrigators and the amount being dispersed is measured and recorded, providing data on the level and depth of effluent spread.

Farmers’ knowledge of their effluent spreading systems is good practice and forms part of the conditions of their consent to farm.

They are required to limit how much effluent is being put onto their paddocks each hour and they are not allowed to irrigate on top of the effluent spread within 24hrs.

These rules enable farmers to use effluent while reducing the risk of runoff. There’s a fine balance between enough and too much, which is why Pete’s here to help farmers get it right.

Understanding how their system works will help farmers manage limits on what they are putting on their paddocks and by working with Pete early, they will be better placed to meet audit requirements.

So far, all Kaikōura farmers who have had their systems tested have been under their limits – something we should commend our farmer community for.

Bucket testing carried out earlier in the year

Irrigation bucket testing carried out earlier in the year uses the same method as effluent testing.

Farmers doing great stuff

Lyell Creek/Waikōau is perhaps one of our biggest indicators when it comes to knowing how farming is impacting our waterways.

Because it winds across the flats right through town and then out to sea the creek encounters many different environments. This means there are lots of opportunities for us reduce sediment and nutrient runoff (such as effluent testing) and increase the quality and habitat of the creek.

It is worth highlighting the great work that our farming community is doing across the flats and wider district – it’s really making a difference and the creek is looking better than previous years.

Coupled with the Love the Lyell and local councils’ work in the stormwater space, wetland protection, and other smaller community initiatives, we are making progress to address freshwater challenges along Lyell Creek/Waikōau.

Thanks, and see you around,
Kev