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Gary Nickel, Dairy Farmer - Hawera

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

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'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 Tarakani, just outside of Hawera.


He 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 the 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!

Here’s his story...


Tell us a bit about your farm and how you were managing effluent before

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.


What made you choose the Nevada system?

Mainly because of the amount of trash we’ve got coming off the feedpad.  Just if it was just normal effluent coming off the cow shed, we probably would 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.


Any improvements you’ve noticed with the system?

Yeah, probably with that stirrer we’ve got going, the Nevada we’ve got in there now, 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.

 

Any advice you’d give to other farmers?

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 we just, you can’t go past that Nevada.  It’s just far superior.

 

At a Glance
RegionTaranaki
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

Our Nevada electric pond mixer easily disperses any crust build-up and creates a whirlpool and gets the whole pond moving so the crust can't form again. Our pond is as clear as a lake now.

Cameron Johnston, Taranaki Dairy Farmer
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