Jay operates a 10 hectare hydroponic tunnel site producing strawberries, raspberries and blackberries in the Waikato. Water is imperative to their operation.
What was the problem you were trying to solve?
“I’ve been doing this for about 10 years and my father for about 30. And the biggest thing is that there’s many ways to capture water. Whether it be straight from the bore into the field, or out of a pond into a steel or poly tank. But cost and cleanliness of the water were the two main factors. We were heading down the pond track but you had to get a consent and you know there’s so much extra stuff you have to do in the process. We were going to go the steel tank route but they were overly expensive and then we were going to go poly tanks but we’d need hundreds of the things to actually make it work and that wasn’t going to be cost effective.”
What made you choose a Flexi Tanks?
“I think Anton had popped into the farm at Dads one day and I was there and we had a chat. Anton explained the benefits to it and then from there I didn’t even think twice so. It’s just the most secure way of getting water and pretty much the most cost effective too. Ponds probably slightly cheaper but the amount of consents and processes to go through it was not worth it. So I recommend it to everyone just because it’s the cleanest water that I’ve grown with in my years of growing and I’ve had my best season of production.”
How do you compare Flexi Tanks with other water storage options?
“It came down to security of water, the cost was really effective, especially per square cube of water, and probably the most cost effective out of all the alternatives minus the pond. But to be honest the cleanliness of the water is the key benefit because obviously our plants are solely dependant on clean water and if there’s something wrong with it, you know duck poo in it or if we get weed in it then we’ve got issues.”
“Having gone through the whole extent with top of the line tunnels, top of the line irrigation systems, top of the line buildings and it was just like, well why just chuck a pond in. It’s kind of like putting second hand tyres on a BMW – it just made no sense. It’s also very appealing to people, they come in look at the site and wow you know it’s clean and are like far, that’s impressive. It just adds to the mystique of the site.”
Can you walk us through the process of getting your Flexi Tank installed?
“It was a Friday afternoon and the sun was out mid winter. We were planning to do it the next week. It was Andre who gave me a call and said, hey Jay, suns out, 3pm should we just come out and whip it out. So they came out and we put it in place. There were about 3 of us plus Anton and Andre and we just rolled the thing out and the next week we were filling it up. It took probably, at max, an hour of work and then we were having a cold beer.”
What do you like most about your Flexi Tank?
“For me moving forwards, if I run into problems where I don’t have enough water it’s as simple as just preparing the pad which we could do in a couple of days and then just putting another Flexi Tank on and then putting pipe in-between the two so they self level. We’re in a position where we could just keep going and placing the Flexi Tanks across. It’s just the flexibility plus it’s easy to deal with Anton and Andre. I can call them up and say I’m gonna be short of water in about a month or two and they’re going to help us out and get it to us in time. We’re in a water dependent industry, no water equals no income. I like dealing with good honest and reliable suppliers, as well as just a good product”
What would you do differently on your next project?
“Not a lot. Maybe I would have come to Flexi Tanks for the outlet. I tried to muck around with other suppliers at the start before I realised Anton and the team already had an established option of how to get from the tank to your pipes”
Any other comments
“Hydroponics is a fast growing industry. I have questions from guys who are getting into it straight away and they asked what suppliers did you use and that sort of thing and we’ve got three main control points. Power, water and fertiliser and the water aspect is sorted with these guys help.”
“We’re planning to expand. I was talking to my father and saying that yeah, sure we could chuck a pond in and it’s slightly cheaper but you’re not guaranteed production because the water won’t be clean. I wouldn’t think twice about Flexi Tanks over anything else so that’s what I’m pushing.”