Erosion control in your budget

Posted on May 19, 2017

“It’s important to plan ahead to make sure the money is in your farm budget not just to buy poles but get them to your farm, planted and protected,” says Poplar and Willow Research Trust general manager Ian McIvor.

He says a series of videos was released last year about choosing the right sites site for erosion-control poles and the best planting methods.

“The links are on our website and we also have a frequently-asked questions page so you can double check the decisions you’re making.”

Research shows poplars and willows are the most effective trees for preventing erosion and reduce slippage by up to 95 per cent.

“For example, the direct cost of the April 2011 storm in Hawke’s Bay was an average of $235,000 per affected farm (with 48 per cent loss of production and 52 per cent damage to infrastructure). The damage was similar in the Wanganui storm in 2015 in which apparently there were about 62,000 landslides.

“Poplars and willows are the best option to help protect against this sort of damage.”

Farmers can directly approach their own Regional Council land management advisors for specific advice in terms of localised climate, soil types and grants or allowances, which can differ in dollar size and threshold.

The price of three-metre poles varies around the country. Smaller poles cost less but will need special management.

After adding the costs of protectors, transport and planting, the full cost of the pole in the ground on hill country could be $20-$23 – including labour and materials, says McIvor.

“It’s a labour intensive job but the rewards are magnificent. It’s hard to find a hill country farmer who regrets planting, because it makes such a big difference to any farm.”