Build the foundations strong

by Andy Bryenton

Roads, races, driveways, feed pads — all areas on the farm where erosion from the elements takes a constant and costly toll. Wouldn’t it be nice to build a simple, strong foundation beneath these areas to stop runoff and prevent washboarding, cracking and slippage?

As autumn approaches and it comes time to consider the maintenance of all those exposed transit areas on the farm, along comes an innovation that could be a godsend for those who are sick of watching their hard work literally go down the drain culvert with each round of winter storms. Diamond Grid is the leading surface stabilisation grid system in Australasia, coming from worldwide tests in the agricultural, landscaping and mining industries. It is extremely rugged — think over one thousand tonnes per square metre when filled with gravel, sand or chip. Due to its unique grid structure, it’s permeable, preventing the runoff effect, which strips the surface of conventional roads, pads and races.

y eliminating erosion, rutting and puddling, ongoing maintenance costs are significantly reduced. That massive load rating — made for heavy vehicles — means that even a herd of cattle can’t make a dent in the interlocking grids — think of matted pieces that slide and lock like a building set. This form of construction increases the structural strength even more.

Diamond Grid has recently been introduced into New Zealand and by the end of 2017 a manufacturing plant is up and running in Christchurch — using recycled plastics from the auto industry. It’s a win-win for the environment and the farmer. Larger grids (1,000 x 1,000mm) are not available in New Zealand at this stage. These are mainly used on the big mining roads in South America. Rural-sized 900mm x 560mm grids cost a snap at just $15 each, and each one weighs just 3 kilos — easy to manhandle into place. They can even be trimmed with a simple skill saw for custom work. Then just fill with one of many kinds of filler and your surface is rocksteady and ready.

Diamond Grid has been used for pathways, driveways, shed floors, mountain bike paths, golf courses, car parks, drains, boat ramps, carports, horse stables, racecourse stables, horse walkers, cattle yards, feed and water trough pads, cattle walkways, creek crossings, day yards, workshop floors, truck depots, fuel station hard stands, excavator yards, mine access roads, haul roads, fire trails, air strips — the list goes on.

Now it’s ready to weather the test of time on local farms. If you’re ready to invest a little now to save huge headaches in years to come, start at the ground level and get on board with this handy innovation.