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Gary Nickel, Dairy Farmer - Hawera

If you don't get it right, you've got a major headache


'If you don't get it right, you've got a major headache'

Gary Nickel, Dairy Farmer - Hawera

Gary Nickel runs a 56ha dairy farm with 240 cows in South Taranaki, just outside of Hawera.

The farm has a 1,000m2 feed pad where he feeds supplements from grass and maize silage to palm kernel and molasses.  The feedpad and the yards both empty into a new 800,000 litre concrete pond every day.  After having 2 previous stirrers that just didn’t ‘cut the mustard’, Gary gave Nevada a call, and he couldn’t be happier!

‘We’ve always had oxidation ponds here.  We’ve had 2 ponds.  We do an intensive feed system with the cows, so there’s a lot of effluent that comes from the shed area itself.  Then the way things were going with the resource and all that, we decided ponds are gonna be a thing of the past soon.  So the only way to do it is like what we’ve done.  Hopefully it’s the end of it all, the end of the problem.’

Gary had been disappointed with his two previous stirrers that just couldn’t handle the volume of muck in his pond, so was looking for something robust and reliable to handle the job…

‘[I chose Nevada] mainly because of the amount of trash we’ve got coming off the feedpad.  If it was just normal effluent coming off the cow shed, we probably could have stuck with the system we had, but because we’ve got so much heavy material going in there, we needed something that could really get in there and get it moving.  Stirring it up properly, because we have a lot of crust come on top of the pond every day.  It’s only because of all the heavy material that’s getting in there.  It’s [Nevada stirrer] the only one that’s doing the job.  We’ll have it going for an hour and it’s all gone.  It’s all broken up, back to just liquid again.  It’s good.

The effluent’s a lot richer coming out of the irrigator
.  Where before I think it was only stirring a little area, and it was getting a lot more solids left in the pond, but now the whole lot’s coming out.  That’s a big advantage of it.  Normally you’d have the irrigator going, and you’d think “oh yeah that looks alright” but it was just quite a murky looking water coming out.  But now it’s really black.  The whole pond’s getting stirred.

I don’t think there’s anything out there that can actually touch a Nevada.
  We’ve actually had 3 different stirrers in that hole, since we’ve put it in.  If you don’t get it right, you’ve got a major headache.  The original one that went in there, we actually had to get a man in to pump the pond out because in the end there was that much solids left in there we actually couldn’t pump it with the pump.  So then they came in with another system, but no, it just didn’t cut the mustard.  But just with a normal shed, and normal effluent, they’d work fine.  For something in our application, you can’t go past that Nevada.  It’s just far superior.’

At a Glance
Farm size56ha
ContourFlat to rolling
No. of cows240
InputsVery high using molasses, palm kernel, grass and maize silage
Pond size800,000 litres
Products purchasedNevada EL710 Electric Stirrer
Gary Nickel

The Nevada stirrer with propeller guard was perfect for our large lined pond. After only 30 minutes, the stirrer had exceeded my expectations and had the whole pond swirling.

Othmar Hebler, Taranaki Dairy Farmer
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