Though their farm effluent consent renewal was several years away Chris Meier, daughter Christine Sullivan and husband Kevin Sullivan began looking at options and settled on Flexi Tanks. Photos: Ross Nolly
Future-proofing the farm When a Taranaki family began thinking about the upcoming effluent consent renewal they did their homework to find the perfect fit. Ross Nolly reports.
LEXIBLE by name, flexible by design and flexible in its application, the Flexi Tanks Storage Bladder a Taranaki farming family recently installed has proved to be all those things. Chris and Val Meier own a 161-hectare (142ha effective) dairy farm near Ngaere in central Taranaki. Their son-in-law and daughter Kevin and Christine Sullivan work the farm as equity partners. Chris moved to the property as an eight-year old when his parents bought it in 1948.
“I worked on the farm then later sharemilked for a couple of years before buying it in the early 1970s,” Chris says. “Over the years we’ve bought neighbouring properties to bring the farm to its present size. We now milk 390 predominately Friesian cows.” Kevin and Christine have been on the property since 2016. They began farming on wages before progressing to lower order sharemilking. Before moving to the family farm they were 50-50 sharemilkers at Toko, east of Stratford, for three years then at a nearby farm at Pukengahu for 14 years before buying into the family farm.
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They now own the herd and employ one full-time worker. Though the farm’s effluent consent wasn’t due for renewal until 2022, rather than leaving things to the last minute they decided to be proactive and began looking at effluent options in 2018. The farm is on the edge of the Ngaere Swamp so an effluent pond was out of the question. Previously the farm had used a sludge pump, which required the effluent to be sprayed out daily. “I first saw the Flexi Tanks advertised in a pamphlet and was initially a bit sceptical until I saw one in the flesh and