A ground-breaking method designed to dramatically improve the dairy sector’s water efficiency has scooped another prestigious award.
The ClearTech product, developed from research by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di, won the Science & Research Award at the Primary Industries Awards in Wellington last night.
ClearTech aims to save billions of litres of freshwater a year by making existing effluent storage go further, using a coagulant to separate effluent from dairy shed runoff, which allows the water to be reused.
The technology has been shown to significantly reduce on-farm fresh water use, with recent Lincoln University studies indicating that E. coli concentrations in ClearTech clarified water were reduced by around 99.9%.
The product, which is being commercialised by Ravensdown, also increases effluent storage capacity and reduces environmental and safety risks linked with effluent.
The Primary Industry Award judges described ClearTech as “a pragmatic on-farm solution that we need more of”.
Professors Cameron and Di have previously won the Agri Innovation Award at the South Island Agricultural Field Days and a highly commended award at the National Fieldays Innovation Awards this year.
“We developed ClearTech in collaboration with Ravensdown specifically to provide farmers with a new tool to help them to continue to improve the sustainability of their business,” said Professor Cameron.
“The scientific results are exciting and demonstrate the potential benefits of ClearTech for the farm and the environment. It’s a win-win technology.”
Professor Di said ClearTech will make a huge difference in reducing water use.
“This smart technology will improve effluent management and reduce environmental impacts on dairy farms across New Zealand. I am absolutely delighted that ClearTech has won another major award on top of the two recent awards at the South Island and National Fieldays.”
Having put the revolutionary product through its paces at the Lincoln University Pilot Plant, Ravensdown has now launched ClearTech commercially.
Product Manager Carl Ahlfeld said three commercial units are being built for Canterbury-based farms.
“We are also in discussion with other farms around the country for four or more units in the very near future,” Mr Ahlfeld said.
“We will always be looking to improve ClearTech to make it the best product possible in terms of reducing water use and farm environmental impacts and look forward to having continued discussions with farmers and industry leaders who are interested in the product.”
The research behind ClearTech has been published in internationally peer-reviewed scientific papers (Cameron and Di: Journal of Soils and Sediments, January 3, 2019: doi.org/10.1007/s11368-018-02227-w).
Source: Lincoln University