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Dust storm a reminder to use good land management practice

A recent dust storm in Hastings is a strong reminder to Hawke’s Bay landowners to make sure they’re using good land management practices.

The dust storm early this month started southeast of Hastings and grew to cover rural and urban areas, making visibility poor in some areas.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Manager Catchments Delivery Dean Evans says it’s important for landowners to use good land management practice to ensure soil stays on site and air quality is healthy. This means a significant dust storm is less likely to occur.

“We know that lots of cultivation happens in spring as summer crops are put in, and we often have gusty north to north-west winds.

We encourage landowners to put practices in place, such as direct drilling for cropping, managing the placement of bare soil, and adjusting activities depending on forecasted weather,” said Mr Evans.

The Regional Council has dust pots across the Heretaunga Plains that measure dust deposition over each month, which are checked monthly to give an indication of wind erosion.

“Generally, during the spring months (September to November), we measure higher quantities of dust compared to other months,” says Mr Evans.

“Cultivation of soil that coincides with these windy periods can result in huge dust storms, which can carry soil a long way like we saw in early September.”

The Regional Council is committed to looking after Hawke’s Bay’s environment and the community’s health.

To find out more about good farming practice, go to hbrc.govt.nz and search #gfp

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