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Landtalk - Tim's blog

February 2017

Help with nutrient management on your farm

For some years now, farmers, dairy farmers in particular have been diligently fencing their streams and often planting the fenced off banks. Stream crossings are generally better managed and often replaced with bridges. Managing dairy shed effluent disposal has also improved considerably over the last decade. All this work has had a positive effect on the quality of water in many of our streams with sediment and bacteria levels dropping.

But as recent events elsewhere in the country have shown, there are less visible ways that nutrients and bacterial contaminants get into our streams and groundwater. These pathways are a little more difficult to fix.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is committed to helping farmers develop solutions for their farms and to front foot some of the farming challenges which just keep coming. So we are hosting nutrient management seminars to help. Well known independent farm consultant, Alison Dewes, will provide some insight into nutrient management plans, pathways of nutrient loss and possible solutions that could even save you money.

Rangitaiki Plains seminar: Thursday 16th March, Edgecumbe Memorial Hall 10am to 12.30pm

Ōpōtiki district seminar: Friday 17th March, Memorial Park Pavilion, Opotiki, 10am to 12.30pm

Both will begin with morning tea at 10am and end with lunch at 12.30pm. And they’re free! Please RSVP to Mieke Kapa at or on 0800 884 881, ext 9534. If you’d like to find out more, give her a call.

You can see more of what Alison has to offer at

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at

Help with nutrient management on your farm

January 2017

A strange living fossil

Rough horsetail, Equisetum hyemale, (pictured) is one of only a small handful of plants that have their origins back in the age of the dinosaurs. Its appearance is equally unusual. Its leaves are almost invisible and the jointed, reed-like stalks are hollow and deep green with many fine, vertical ridges. There are dark brown bands at the joints. At the tip of each long, straight stem is a brown, cone-like structure which produces its reproductive spores.

The outside of the stem is rough and very high in silica and has in the past been used for scouring and polishing – hence its other name, scouring rush. It has also been used as a medicinal plant though it is poisonous.

The plant grows naturally in many parts of the northern hemisphere but has been introduced almost everywhere else where it has nearly always become a serious pest. It’s happiest in wet or damp places but isn’t overly fussy and will grow anywhere.

Probably because of its unusual appearance, it has occasionally been grown in gardens. But most people will regret ever planting it. It spreads by means of underground runners and can over-run an entire garden quite quickly. As there is a real danger of it invading our bush and wetlands, over the years, Regional Council staff have helped a number of residents get rid of this plant. And it’s very difficult to kill. Recently, several infestations have been dealt with in the Ōpōtiki area.

If you have the misfortune to have this plant in your garden, you are likely to want to get rid of it too. So get in touch with us on the number below for some help.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at

Rough horsetail 

A walk in Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park

The kind weather at the moment will be enticing many outside for a walk. The Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park at the Ōhiwa headland is right on our doorstep and has within it a remarkable walk. From the edge of the Ōhiwa Harbour, the walking track winds through majestic coastal forest dominated by puriri and pohutukawa before emerging onto public farmland. Comprehensive pest control means that the bird life is prolific. And for an evening excursion, there is a side track to a dazzling display of glow worms.

At the top of the hill you’ll climb onto Onekawa pa, a special place central to the history of local tangata whenua. And from here, on a clear day, there are stunning views of the entire eastern bay coastline from Te Kaha to Mauao and inland as far as Maugapohatu. The steep cliffs below are cloaked in pohutukawa. The park is dotted with ancient pa sites and many of these historic features are clear to the sharp eyed.

The track continues through the farm, with its sheep and calves, down to Bryan’s Beach and from here a walk along the beach back to the Ōhiwa spit completes the loop. At the spit there is plenty of car parking, shelter and a band new public toilet. The whole loop is a 1½ to 2hr walk.

Thanks to the generosity of one of the park’s neighbours, the park has recently been expanded. This means that by this time next year there will be another loop tack in the park, providing the opportunity for a full day’s excursion.

To get there, turn off SH2 onto Ōhiwa Beach Road near the Waiōtahe estuary 12km west of Ōpōtiki and follow the signs. The turn off itself is well signed.

This column is provided by the Eastern Land Resources team at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. For more information on pests of all kinds, please call us on 0800 884 881 ext 6010 or at

Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park

For 2016 Landtalk articles, click here

For 2015 Landtalk articles, click here