Potential impact of ash eruptions on a dairy farms from a study of the effects on a farm in eastern Bay of Plenty, New Zealand; implications for hazard mitigation
This paper investigates the impact ash fall would have on dairy farming, based on a study of ‘Tulachard’, a dairy farming operation at Rerewhakaaitu, North Island, New Zealand. It includes analysis of the potential effects on the dairy shed and milking machine, electrical supply and distribution, water supply and distribution, tractors and other farm vehicles, farm buildings (haysheds, pump sheds, implement sheds, etc.), milk-tanker access to the farm and critical needs of dairy cows and farm to keep milking. One of the most vulnerable areas identified in the study was the cooling of milk at the milking shed, pending dairy tanker pick-up. The cooling system’s condenser is exposed to the atmosphere and falling ash would make it highly vulnerable. Laboratory testing with wet and dry ash was conducted to determine its resilience to ash ingestion. It was found to perform satisfactorily during dry testing, but during wet testing significant clogging/blocking of the condenser’s radiator occurred, dramatically reducing airflow through the condenser. Specific mitigation recommendations have been developed that include cleaning with compressed air and adapting farm management techniques to lessen usage of the condenser during an ash-fall event. Specific recommendations for management of dairy farm operation are given to mitigate the effects of an ash-fall event.