Hi-tech fix for ero­sion and boggy ground

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Front Page - DIGBY HIL­DRETH Digby.hil­dreth@north­ern­star.com.au

MAR­TYN Ham­macher reck­ons the only peo­ple with dry feet at this year’s Primex event in Casino were the ones man­ning his ex­hibit.

That’s be­cause they were stand­ing on the prod­uct he was there to pro­mote – Geo­hex, a re­cy­cled plas­tic paver that halts ero­sion and sta­bilises the ground.

It al­lowed wa­ter to drain away more quickly – some­thing that was even more wel­come at the re­cent sub-zero Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.

Farm­ers’ re­sponse to the prod­uct was 100% pos­i­tive, said Mar­tyn, whose MH Agency is the North Coast’s au­tho­rised sup­plier of Geo­hex, which is made in Minto.

The sight of a cat­tle trough en­cir­cled by the prod­uct and a dry sand cov­er­ing at Mar­tyn’s stand drew the at­ten­tion of landown­ers des­per­ate for a long-term so­lu­tion to the year-af­ter-year dam­age to their roads and prop­erty fol­low­ing heavy rain.

Geo­hex can be used in any sit­u­a­tion where there is ero­sion or prob­lems with mud and bog, in­clud­ing at wa­ter­ing sites, roads, stock­yards, nurs­eries, eques­trian cen­tres, walk­ing are­nas, park­ing spots, drives and gate­ways, Mar­tyn said.

“It came out in May last year and is the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in ero­sion con­trol and ground sta­bil­i­sa­tion.

“It’s a paver and can be used any­where – in­clud­ing on slopes and down into de­pres­sions, be­cause although it’s rigid, it has an in­ter­lock­ing sys­tem.”

It can also be cut to shape. When Mar­tyn moved to the North Coast from Ger­many nine years ago, he lived on a cat­tle farm and no­ticed that most prop­er­ties in the re­gion had prob­lems with boggy con­di­tions, wa­ter run-off and ero­sion dam­age.

Search­ing for a so­lu­tion he dis­cov­ered the prod­uct made by A Plus Plas­tics.

“It ticked all the boxes,” he said, in­clud­ing meet­ing his “green” re­quire­ments.

“I don’t like plas­tics, but the Geo­hex paver is made from 100% re­cy­cled plas­tics into polypropy­lene, and that makes it strong, which is per­fect to sta­bilise the ground and the sub­strate.”

Lay­ing it is a DIY job, be­gin­ning with grad­ing off pot holes and cor­ru­gated sec­tions, then, de­pend­ing on the job, putting down lay­ers of road base fol­lowed by crusher dust.

“You lay the Geo­hex in that bed and com­pact it. Af­ter that you can fill it with what­ever you like, road base, gran­ite or even just crusher dust, pumice or blue metal. Then you have to com­pact it again and it will sta­bilise the ground.”

Be­cause it’s al­most 100% wa­ter per­me­able, the wa­ter nat­u­rally runs away, both off the sur­face and through the drainage in­side the pavers.

It can bear a load of 1000 tonne per square me­tre. And at $29sq m – or less for vol­ume – it’s highly cost-ef­fec­tive.

“For stock it’s a very healthy so­lu­tion,” says Mar­tyn, “and es­pe­cially good to sta­bilise ground around wa­ter troughs where it al­ways gets muddy.”

It comes in black, though mines use the coloured va­ri­eties to de­lin­eate un­der­ground roads.

For the do­mes­tic user, on drive­ways, for in­stance, it can be filled with peb­bles, or seeded or grassed over.

PHOTO: DIGBY HIL­DRETH

LAY DOWN MISERE: Mar­tyn Ham­macher and ex­am­ples of the Geo­hex pavers that help con­trol ero­sion.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

DRY FEET: The vul­ner­a­ble ground around wa­ter troughs can be kept drier and more sta­ble.

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