I'm a farm advisor for the Ballinderry Rivers Trust. We are an environmental charity dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of the Ballinderry River.
One project we are currently working on is creating nature based water management systems to clean up dirty water from farm yards. The systems are designed to also benefit the farm business e.g. by improving farm productivity or improving biodiversity or reducing the farms carbon footprint.
Below is a before and after shot of one of the systems we've created on a dairy farm in the Ballinderry river catchment:
Dirty water passes through the Swales pictured. The areas between swales are planted with Comfrey, a deep rooting plant which takes nutrient from the water as it flows through the system. The partially cleaned water is then finally spilled into a wet woodland at the bottom of the system. The tree area is a mix of Short Rotation Coppice willow suitable for biomass and willow suitable for basket making. The willow 'polishes' the water, leaving it squeaky clean before diffusely running to the nearby river.
We are now waiting for spring for our trees and plants to take off!
We are monitoring the system as we go with the intention to find a suitable system which can be replicated and scaled up/down to suit different farms.
Any questions or feedback welcome!
Look forward to seeing the Cullybackey comfrey when it's up and running!
Hi Ciaran, This is great. Do you have a link to an article or a website link, I would like to add it as an example of farm innovation on our website and also share on social media if you are ok with that? Thanks. Maureen
The swales are looking great Ciaran. Will you harvest the comfrey?Might be good to mix with our nettle retting liquid for fertiliser?