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Effluent spreader a hit with farmers

Effluent spreader a hit with farmers

Gore based Fisken Contracting’s links to its clients and the land is literally umbilical. Among its plant for undertaking a wide variety of rural contracting work, a Slurry Quip umbilical effluent spreader has become a key asset for both the company and the farmers who have benefited from the efficiencies it provides.

Director Tony Fisken says the system can spread 230,000 litres to 250,000 litres an hour, depending on the distance from the effluent pond.

The umbilical system is supplied by a continuous flow through hoses, up to two kilometres from an effluent pond. “Generally we do in a day what would take a tanker a week to do. Most tankers would be struggling to do four loads an hour, that would be about 40,000 to 50,000 litres an hour and we are doing four or five times that,” Tony says.

As well as being more efficient than a conventional tanker spreader, the tractor-based system reduces pasture compaction and lane-way damage.

It can also be more efficient than distributing effluent through pivot irrigators in which blockages can be time consuming.

“Farmers are very impressed with what we can do and we’ve even had a couple who have their own pod [irrigation] systems who don’t bother with them; they just get us to do it, it’s so efficient.”

Fisken Contracting’s machinery includes 11 John Deere tractors, five trucks used for silage and general cartage, two silage choppers, and two 20 tonne diggers along with an array of ancillary equipment.

The company employs a full-time mechanic to make sure maintenance is kept up-to-date and for repairs to minimise down-time. The company was originally established by Tony’s two brothers Stephen and Mark 25 years ago, with Tony joining 10 years later.

Mark runs a logging division of the company, Stephen is responsible for the diggers and baleage, and Tony handles silage and general agricultural work.

Fisken Contracting has experience in installing rural water schemes and undertaking river protection work, including willow removal and rock placement for erosion protection throughout Southland.

The silage season, from October to April or May, is usually a particularly busy time, but the dry summer and lack of grass growth during January and February meant this part of the business has been slightly down on usual this year.

A focus on delivering what clients want, when they need it has created a stable client base for the company during the past 25 years, but a degree of property turnover in the rural sector means Fisken Contracting still has to keep up its profile.

“We have a lot of regular clients, but obviously their farms still change hands so its just a matter of getting out and meeting new people and to let them know we are still around.” One of the biggest challenges in running a large contracting business in recent years has been compliance costs.

“It’s increased; all the hidden costs. Health and safety would be the biggest one and the fees that seem to crop up with it.”

Despite this Tony sees positives in Fisken Contracting’s staff being well versed in its health and safety policies as well as being made aware of the policies and hazards on individual farms when they sign in.

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