In 2016, Wairakei Pastoral Limited elected to undertake a “Soil Conservation Initiative (SCI),” involving assessment and actions to further enhance the quality of soils at Wairakei Estate.
The objectives of the SCI are:
- Identify at risk areas for soil conservation
- To protect and improve the economic value of our soil
- Prevent and reduce the impact of environmental events on soil
Wairakei Estate employs a full-time Soil Conservator who recommends and implements appropriate erosion management, targeting the critical, high priority areas. For example, steep, erosion prone sidling’s on dairy platforms that have been retired and planted for erosion control.
Our Soil Conservator has a very active role at Wairakei Estate, interacting and liaising with other team leaders, our tenant partners and other organisations. Her responsibilities take her out in the field constantly as she checks any areas identified as hot spots daily, monitors progress relative to any incident, checking, updating and creating data, engaging and enabling with regard to prevention, for best soil conservation.
Erosion is the largest source of sediment loss across Wairakei Estate, with the dominant pumice soil being prone to erosion, particularly after high intensity rainfall and land development. All these erosion prone areas have been identified and mapped for progressive retirement and protection.
Wairakei Estate’s Soil Conservator recommends and implements appropriate erosion management, targeting the critical, high priority areas. For example, steep, erosion prone sidling’s on dairy platforms that have been retired and planted for erosion control.
Across Wairakei Estate there is extensive use of erosion and sediment controls (bundings and culverts), which are also mapped and identified by the Soil Conservator. Wairakei Pastoral Limited has currently set aside at least 7,000 ha (or 27%) of the property, identified as largely riparian or erosion prone, as part of their proposed land use change plans, for ecological and landscape protection. These areas will not be used as pastoral farmland.