The fu­ture of dairy ef­flu­ent stor­age is here

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT - MIKE BAIN

As di­ary farm­ers grap­ple with reg­u­la­tions on ef­flu­ent stor­age a Waikato man has come up with a sim­ple so­lu­tion.

Com­ing from a dairy back­ground, Tama­here based An­ton Meier knows all too well the reg­u­la­tions sur­round­ing the stor­age of ef­flu­ent and the costs associated.

Two years ago Meier’s com­pany Flexi Tanks NZ Ltd im­ported his first blad­der tank and now his phone is con­stantly ring­ing as farm­ers are con­vinced they are the fu­ture an­swer to all their stor­age prob­lems.

Of­fer­ing a sim­ple so­lu­tion for stor­age in high risk soil ar­eas the Flexi Tank (blad­der) can store up to one mil­lion litres of dairy ef­flu­ent or water.

Meier’s ex­cit­ment is in­fec­tious once dairy farm­ers sees how sim­ple the prod­uct is and like their ef­flu­ent, spread­ing the word.

Easy in­stal­la­tion means it takes two hours to roll out the blad­der on a 100mm hor­i­zon­tal bed of sand near the dairy shed which pro­vides a to­tally closed, liq­uid tight stor­age fa­cil­ity which re­quires no main­te­nance.

‘‘Once in place screw on the valves and hook it up to the sump pump and you’re in the stor­age busi­ness and when you hook the tank to your ir­ri­ga­tors then you are ready to go,’’ said Meier.

He ac­cepts its hard for a farmer to be­lieve but see­ing is be­liev­ing and now the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil and Fon­terra have seen it they’re talk­ing to farm­ers.

The blad­ders tick all the boxes sat­is­fy­ing re­source re­quire­ments.

‘‘And the beauty is you don’t re­quire a con­sent ei­ther.’’

Un­like open stor­age tanks the blad­ders are com­pletely en­closed so safety is not an is­sue and be­cause there is no air in the tank, it avoids the hard crust on top of the ef­flu­ent.

‘‘The ad­van­tage of the blad­der sys­tem is it will rise and de­crease in height de­pen­dent upon the vol­ume of stor­age,’’ he said.

Man­u­fac­tured from a multi lay­ered tech­ni­cal fab­ric with a ten­sile strength of 450kg per 5cm which means they can­not be eas­ily punc­tured.

Meier had heard about Euro­pean farm­ers us­ing the stor­age sys­tem so he did his re­search be­fore be­ing con­vinced the tanks were a way for­ward for New Zealand farm­ers.

He now im­ports the Flexi Tanks from France and will have them on show at the Na­tional Fiel­d­ays in June.

MIKE BAIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The blad­der has many out­lets which can be at­tatched di­rectly to an ir­ri­ga­tor.

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