Shirley and Tony Brown: PIRONGIA, WAIKATO

FARM: 550 cows

PREVIOUS TREATMENT: Initially the Browns transferred their effluent from the shed to a small sump. From there, raw effluent was quickly spread onto their pastures alleviating the need for a holding facility. When new regulations required farmers to hold effluent for 90 days, the Browns were decided to build an effluent pond.

At the same time that the Browns were building their new 4.7 million litre pond built, they came into contact with Liz Russell, the founder of Envirosystems UK, the company that produces SLURRY BUGS. After discussing the biological issues with Liz, the Browns decided to start their new pond with SLURRY BUGS already introduced.

"The idea was to get things off on the right foot rather than waiting till we had problems. We followed the SLURRY BUGS programme that Liz gave us and we've had clear effluent from the get-go. Now it's just a case of maintenance."

NO MACHINES: The large pond is entirely without power. No power is needed in this effluent pond since no stirring is required to keep the effluent liquefied and crust-free. The effluent in the Brown pond is managed solely through the biological processes of SLURRY BUGS.

THE RESULT: The fact that the sky is reflected in the surface of the pond says it all. The effluent is liquefied, easily pumped, and is without odour.


FARM SITUATION: Dean oversees several Clydesdale farms, one of which runs 500 cows.

EFFLUENT SYSTEM: This farm has a 450,000 litre effluent pond with a sand trap.

PREVIOUS TREATMENT: Before using Slurry Bugs, Dean's crew would clean off the pond crust with a digger, or use an umbilical cord to spread the liquid effluent that lay underneath. Both methods were seen as the ambulance at bottom of the cliff. Yes, they could spread the effluent - to a degree - but the pods kept blocking and smell of ammonia was intense. The question was: Is there a better way to get hold of and use the fertilising goodness that lay beneath the crust?

WHY SLURRY BUGS: According to Dean, "Most farmers are eco-friendly at heart - it's where we wanna be. We don't want to pump chemicals or crap into the land. The problem is, we get a lot of sales reps coming down our driveways promising 5 minute fixes, and some of their green solutions are ineffective. So we're a bit reluctant to try something...different.

When Dean came across SLURRY BUGS, the biology of it made sense. So he trialed it. Almost by accident, Dean noticed something important. "When the boys cleaned the pond right out, some of the effluent flowed down the hill into the grass. I noticed that the grass there bolted away. More than that, the cows would quickly rush over to that patch and tuck in. Normally, grass treated with raw effluent is toxic to cows - they won't touch it. But this grass was sweeter. They cows couldn't get enough."

THE RESULTS: Dean used SLURRY BUGS consistently over a 10 week period. The most obvious transformation was the disappearance of the crust. But when they emptied the pond, they also noticed the drastic reduction of bottom sludge. Dean describes another significant change: "Most ponds are 60% ammonia, 40% organics. Our pond turned around the other way to the point where the effluent odour had practially disappeared."

David and Christina Forster: MORRINSVILLE


EFFLUENT SYSTEM: New 750,000 litre effluent Kliptank installed.
Within days of filling, a crust had begun to form on the surface. This surface crust and the bottom sludge posed several problems. First, effluent solids were clogging the tank valves. In addition, the Forsters were concerned about compliancy issues with Environment Waikato - odour emissions and soil leaching.

PREVIOUS TREATMENT: Initially, the Forsters called in a contractor with a view to putting a stirring system into their tank. However, the contractor was reluctant to do so, fearing the stirrer would push out the walls of the tank through an uneven distribution of effluent.

WHY SLURRY BUGS: When the stirring option failed, Christina began looking into other effluent options. Being an open to bio-solutions, she was immediately interested in the biological approach of SLURRY BUGS. The Forsters began a trial.

THE RESULT: Within 5 days of introducing SLURRY BUGS, the surface crust had gone. When asked about the speed of the transformation, David understandably replied: "We were pleasantly surprised."

David sees other attractive features about SLURRY BUGS. "It's not just about getting rid of the crust. We also like the fact that SLURRY BUGS lock the nutrients into the effluent, making them readily available to the plants. That reduces leaching and makes for better pasture growth. SLURRY BUGS also saves money. Every time you have to deal with some aspect of the effluent process, it costs. This biological approach requires less intervention on our part - that's money saved."