Tractor spreader a game-changer
Total Harvesting’s new Slurryquip umbilical effluent spreader has been in strong demand since it was bought by the Outram-based company in September.
Craig and Rebecca Mitchell, who own and run the Otago company, say the tractor-based system is more efficient than a conventional tanker spreader and reduces pasture compaction and lane-way damage.
The umbilical system is supplied by a continuous flow through hoses direct from an effluent pond.
Typically 180,000 to 260,000 litres of effluent per hour can be applied to pastures, compared with 40,000 litres an hour from a tanker that needs to make multiple trips.
“With the spreaders there’s a lot more vehicle flow. The umbilical system is more environmentally friendly and a more efficient way of pumping the effluent,” Rebecca says.
It can also be more efficient than distributing effluent through pivot irrigators in which blockages can be time-consuming.
Clients also benefit from the efficiencies of a lower spreading cost per hectare. The purchase of the $170,000 system was originally an unintended result of the Taieri floods in July.
When the floods happened, Total Harvesting bought high capacity pumping equipment and hoses to help clients remove water from their properties.
“We ended up pumping water for [clients] for two weeks 24 hours a day, pumping it off their farms. We were pumping a million litres an hour.”
After the floods Craig and Rebecca decided to invest in the full umbilical effluent system which could use the pumping equipment they had already bought. Effluent on some local farms had been spread with an umbilical system operated by a West Coast contractor.
“We thought we may as well get the rest of the system to go with it because there’s not many of them around.”
Craig started the business 15 years ago alongside Rebecca’s older brother, Lyndon Newall, with a baler and tractor.
After adding another baler and with the business growing, the Mitchells bought Lyndon’s share and continued to grow on the back of continued demand for their services.
Total Harvesting now employs seven permanent staff and five to six casuals during busy periods.
The company has a comprehensive range of equipment for every rural contracting need, from cartage, silage and baleage to ground work such as cultivating, mowing and excavation as well as hedge-cutting.
Total Harvesting also offers direct drilling of seed and fodder beet, and feed sales.
It answered a call for help with earthmoving after the Kaikoura earthquake, and has had two of its four tip trucks and staff working in the area on a rotating roster since early June last year.
“It’s pretty good that we can help them out. We should be able to leave those trucks up there. If we can keep helping out we will.”
The draw on resources means Total Harvesting is looking to buy a replacement truck to support its local operations.