Researchers, scholars and innovators are honoured (scientists are recognised, too)

The word “scientist” is curiously missing from the introductory paragraph in a news release from the Royal Society Te Apārangi.  Instead, the society reports that

“… contributions of innovators, kairangahau Māori, researchers and scholars throughout Aotearoa New Zealand are having their achievements and national and international impact recognised.”

Elsewhere in the press release, the word “scientist” can be found once, in reference to the award made to soil scientist Professor Rich McDowell.

The headline says:  2021 Research Honours Aotearoa Celebrates Achievements By Researchers, Scholars And Innovators

For the 2021 Research Honours Aotearoa, the society has announced the winners of 18 medals and awards and the Health Research Council of New Zealand has announced three award winners.

Winners will receive their awards at regional ceremonies in early 2022.

Among them are –

Professor Rich McDowell, from AgResearch and Our Land and Water, National Science Challenge.  He  received the Hutton Medal for outstanding contributions to the knowledge of nutrient flows in soils and water, and informing farm management and environmental policy.

Rich, a soil scientist, is best known firstly for showing how contaminants move across land and into water, and secondly how to manage land to mitigate losses. He has used this knowledge to inform policy and has made an immense contribution to the strategies available in New Zealand and overseas for mitigation of nutrient losses to water.

The Pickering Medal has been awarded to Professor Keith Cameron  and Professor Hong Di from Lincoln University for inventing new technology to treat dairy farm effluent to recycle water and reduce phosphate and E coli leaching into water.

ClearTech® is a fully-automatic treatment system that uses a coagulant to produce ‘clarified water’ and ‘treated effluent’. It reduces the volume of effluent that needs to be irrigated or stored; clarifies and recycles more than 50% of the water that can be used to wash the farmyard; and reduces the risk of contamination of rivers, lakes and groundwater, reducing phosphate and E coli leaching by over 90%.

Lincoln research impresses Australia’s Minister of Agriculture

Lincoln University welcomed the Australian Minister of Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, to its campus where she was introduced to some of the institution’s most celebrated land-based projects, a university news release today says.

The Minister visited the Lincoln University vineyard, dairy farm and Ashley Dene Research & Development Station with a party that included Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie, Soil Science Professor Keith Cameron, and Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty Dean and wine researcher, Roland Harrison.

She heard about the operations, expenses and targets of the Lincoln University Dairy Farm and its strategic purpose to lead and promote the very best sustainable dairy food production systems.

She also viewed a presentation on the various projects taking place at the Ashley Dene Research & Development Station, which aim to improve the profitability, environmental and welfare performance of dairy and livestock farming systems.

During her tour, the Minister expressed particular interest in the award-winning ClearTech system, a ground-breaking method of turning dairy effluent into clarified water.

Developed by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di in collaboration with Ravensdown, the system significantly reduces on-farm fresh water use.

Earlier this year, the system won the Science & Research Award at the Primary Industries Awards in Wellington.

“ClearTech provides farmers with a new tool to help them continue to improve the sustainability of their business,” Professor Cameron said. “The scientific results are exciting and demonstrate the potential benefits of ClearTech for the farm and the environment. It’s a win-win technology.

“It was fantastic to be able to showcase this product to the Minister. Her visit was a great success.”

Source:  Lincoln University

ClearTech adds another science and research award to its collection

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. Continue reading

ClearTech wins Fieldays Innovation Award

The ClearTech dairy effluent treatment system developed by Lincoln University Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di in conjunction with Ravensdown won a Highly Commended Award at last week’s Fieldays Innovation Awards.

The system uses a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles together to settle them out from the water. This clarifying process reduces freshwater use, helps existing effluent storage go further and reduces the environmental and safety risk linked with farm dairy effluent (FDE).

“This is a great example of how researchers and industry can work together to deliver new innovative technologies for the benefit of New Zealand,” Professor Cameron said.

“Our field lysimeter studies have shown significant reductions in leaching losses of E coli. and phosphate from ClearTech treated effluent applied to land. Application of ClearTech treated effluent is therefore less likely to harm water quality than untreated effluent.”

Ravensdown Product Manager Carl Ahlfeld said ClearTech is ideal for dairy farmers who want to save on effluent pond storage and take back control of their capacity and compliance.

Stripping out the E. coli and other bacteria in farm dairy effluent means cleaner water to wash down the dairy yard or irrigate on to paddocks and less volume of effluent that has to be stored and used safely

The nutrients in the effluent can be re-used back on to paddocks with minimal odour.

The judges were impressed with the technology and its potential benefits.

Source: Lincoln University

Dairy effluent treatment system is good news for water quality

New research conducted by Lincoln University on Ravensdown’s ClearTech® farm dairy effluent (FDE) treatment system in Canterbury has shown the system could have significant environmental benefits for river, lake and groundwater quality.

Field lysimeter trials conducted at Lincoln University by Professor Keith Cameron and Professor Hong Di, of Lincoln University’s Centre for Soil and Environmental Research, have shown significant reductions in leaching losses of total phosphorus (TP), dissolved reactive phosphate (DRP) and E. coli from ClearTech-treated FDE applied to pasture soil when compared with losses from untreated FDE.

The ClearTech system produces both clarified water and treated effluent. The clarified water can be recycled back to wash the dairy yard, or, like the treated effluent, can be irrigated out onto the land. Continue reading

New technology aims to slash dairy effluent and farmers’ use of fresh water

Lincoln University has teamed up with the fertiliser co-operative, Ravensdown, to develop a breakthrough technology that could dramatically improve the dairy sector’s water efficiency and reduce the risks associated with dairy effluent.

The new system, known as ClearTech, was developed from research by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di. It represents a $1.5 million investment by Ravensdown.

The technology aims to save billions of litres of freshwater a year by making existing effluent storage go further, with farmers able to separate effluent from dairy shed runoff and reuse the water. The leftover waste can then be turned into nutrient fertiliser for paddocks.

Professor Keith Cameron says the ClearTech pilot project was producing 10,000 litres of recyclable water per milking.

“That’s 20,000 litres a day of water saved, which means we don’t have to use freshwater, and it’s 20 thousand less litres of effluent that get produced,” he said.

The pilot project is installed at the Lincoln University Demonstration Farm (LUDF) and undergoing rigorous testing in a real-world environment to give farmers a preview of the technology.

It was unveiled at a LUDF Farm Focus Day on 3 May by Agriculture Minister Damian O’Connor and representatives from Lincoln University and Ravensdown. A group of 350 dairy farmers attended the event.

The system is installed between the dairy shed and effluent pond and works by binding effluent particles together to settle them out from the water.

The effluent circulating in the ClearTech system is automatically monitored and treated and the separation process kills up to 99% of micro-organisms, such as E. coli, while reducing odour.

Professor Hong Di said similar technology was being used for treating drinking water.

“We’ve taken the same principle and applied it to dairy farm effluent.”

The technology will be commercially available later this year, once testing has been completed.

Ravensdown Effluent Technology Manager Jaime Thompson said the project showed exciting potential to transform “green water” so it could be confidently reused as yard wash.

“About a quarter of a dairy shed’s fresh water use is on yard washing, so the potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous.

“ClearTech will look to save 42 billion litres of freshwater a year – the equivalent of 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

She said 70 per cent of dairy farmers’ environmental spending was dedicated to effluent management, so ClearTech would help them to save money and meet their compliance obligations.

Professor Cameron also highlighted a positive initial response to the technology from dairy industry stakeholders.

“We’re really encouraged to see their willingness and desire to collaborate as we engage with them in the development of ClearTech,” he said.

Source: Lincoln University