In a win for the environment and cyclone-hit farmers, damaged fence posts are being given a new lease of life instead of being sent to landfill.
Cyclone Gabrielle slammed a number of Hawke’s Bay orchards and vineyards, including fence posts holding up wire trellis for vines and supporting smaller trees.
To support relief efforts and as part of the Hawke’s Bay Silt Recovery Taskforce, Repost Fence Posts have so far recycled and donated 12,400 of these treated timber fence posts.
Repost work to repurpose the posts by grading them, removing nails, clips and plastic, cutting them to size, and then bundling them up ready for farmers’ fence lines. The posts include full, quarter, half and strainer posts of 1.6m, 1.8m and 2.4m lengths.
Throughout November, with help from Federated Farmers, the posts have been donated to rural communities on the East Coast, including at Otane, Pōrangahau, Pākōwhai, Esk Valley, Tutira and Wairoa.
Brothers Greg and Mark Morice, who run an orchard and sheep and beef farm at the top of Dartmoor Valley, Puketapu, say they’re “extremely appreciative” of those who’ve helped to get their operation back on its feet, including Federated Farmers and the Farmy Army, Commence the Re-Fence, and now Repost.
“We had five hectares of orchard, but when the flood came over the top of the Dartmoor Valley stopbank, we ended up with a couple of hundred tonnes of timber smashing through and wiping out two hectares of trees,” Greg says.
“It left the remaining three hectares non-viable to farm.”
Slips in the hill country of their pastoral operation damaged or tore out more fencing.
Greg says the efforts of the Farmy Army and Commence the Re-Fence to restore 1.2km of vital fencing, was “seriously cool”.
The brothers are using recycled vine posts from Repost for fence repairs up in their hill country gulleys.
“We were given about 80 posts and 20 angles. Buying that stuff new would take quite a bit of money,” Greg says.
“It’s helped us get our infrastructure back up and running much sooner than we’d have been able to afford to.”
Dirk Walden, who runs sheep and beef at Maraetotara, is also grateful for donated Repost fences.
Despite “never experiencing a storm like it before”, Dirk says his way of coping with the significant damage to his tracks, fences, culverts and other infrastructure was to keep chipping away at repairs himself.
Nevertheless, the bundles of posts from Repost “was amazing, and I’m grateful”, he says.
Repost owner Greg Coppell says that now the dryer months are coming, the ground will be easier for vital rebuild work to get underway.
“The rural community here are really struggling, but we’re hoping these donated posts will help.”
Repost, started in Marlborough, is a sustainable recycling waste solution for broken vineyard and orchard CCA-treated timber waste posts.
To date, they’ve saved 5052 tonnes from landfill in Marlborough and are hoping to do the same in Hawke’s Bay. They’ve also supported farmers nationwide to fence over 4,175km of fence lines.
Darren de Klerk, who heads the Silt Recovery and Waste Taskforce in Hawke’s Bay, says thousands of horticultural and viticultural posts have been collected for re-purposing since the cyclone.
“It’s great to see the amount of useful wood we’ve been able to redirect from landfill.
“Typically, with Repost, it costs $4.50 per post to repurpose based on 1,000 posts per day, significantly cheaper than the estimated $19 to dispose one post at landfill.”
Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway says Repost’s donation of 12,400 recycled posts for use on farms pummelled by Cyclone Gabrielle is a “fantastic demonstration of support”.
“That’s enough posts for restoring 40 to 50 kilometres of fence line by the Farmy Army and others, and that work is crucial for farm operations.”
Galloway says the priority is to rebuild boundary fences to prevent stock from wandering onto roads, creating a health and safety risk for both humans and animals.
But fences keeping stock out of waterways and internal farm fences were also destroyed in the cyclone.
“When internal fences are down, a farmer’s ability to efficiently manage feed and stock movement is also undermined,” Galloway says.
Farmers will appreciate that Repost fence posts have been recycled from orchards and vineyards.
“Farmers are environmentally minded and don’t like to see anything wasted. This is a great re-use of a resource that has outlived another purpose,” Galloway says.
Galloway says a number of farmers have generously offered space to host the posts and battens before they’re distributed – Andrew Wilson at Otane, Colin Jacobs at Pōrangahau, Troy Duncan at Pākōwhai, Pete McCarthy at Tutira, Simon Spice at Eskdale, and Allan Newton in Wairoa.
“We’re grateful for all their support.”
Federated Farmers, New Zealand’s leading independent rural advocacy organisation, has established a news and insights partnership with AgriHQ, the country’s leading rural publisher, to give the farmers of New Zealand a more informed, united and stronger voice. Feds news and commentary appears each week in its own section of the Farmers Weekly print edition and online.