Friday, 3 December 2021
Pukerimu Dairy Goat Farm
Rain harvesting on a grand scale
Who: Jo Alcock, Farm owner at Pukerimu Dairy Goats
Where: Pukerimu, Waikato
Products: Promax 30,000L Water Tanks
Why: For Jo Alcock of Pukerimu Dairy Goats, rain falling on the roof means water flowing into the tanks. Jo milks 600 goats on the family farm, 15 kilometres south of Te Kuiti, in the King Country region of the North Island. While the milk from her Saanen, British Alpine and Nubian goats is highly valued, so is the water she depends on to run her operation. During the long, dry spells that are increasingly frequent in her neck of the woods, securing enough water comes down to a lot of big tanks capturing a little rain. The King Country/Waikato region, like most of rural New Zealand, is no stranger to drought in recent years. The area experienced a dry 2020, with annual rainfall well below the long-term average. The rain gauge at Ruakura in Hamilton recorded the lowest falls since records began in 1905, while six of the seven driest three-month periods on record (1905 to present) have occurred since 2007/08. Jo’s strategy to drought-proof her milking operation is based on a simple premise: when it eventually rains, do your best to make it pour. Jo has calculated that approximately 7.5 million litres of rainwater fall onto the roofs of her farm sheds every year. So, to harvest as much of that precious resource as she possibly can, Jo has created a tank farm on her goat farm.
What: Jo initially invested in 18x 30,000 litre high-grade polyethylene tanks, designed and manufactured by Northland-based company Promax. Most of the tanks are attached to the primary goat shed, with others connected to an implement shed and a spring on her property. All of the tanks on the main shed are linked to form a massive reservoir of fresh water, and with a new shed just constructed and even more tanks ordered, storage volume grows as the farm does. For Promax, tank farms, like the one they helped build at Pukerimu Dairy Goats, are nothing new. For some time now, they’ve dispatched bulk consignments of their large water tanks to more and more farms all over the country. After all, two tanks will hold more water than one. Four tanks will hold more water than two. Eight tanks will hold more water than four, and so on. That’s the beauty of a tank farm. Pukerimu Dairy Goats is just one example of rain harvesting on a grander scale. A network of connected tanks allows farmers to collect and use more of the scarce rain that falls on their dry properties. The more tanks there are, the better it works. Thanks to a tank farm, a little bit of rain goes a long, long way.
This case study was first published in June 2020.