“Bush nuts” or Macadamia trees are a native sub-tropical forest tree, hence they are grown in typically high rainfall and rich volcanic soil conditions. 

Current harvesting techniques and orchard maintenance require machinery that can form tracks and ruts on the soft soils between the rows of trees. Couple that with orchards that have no grass growing between the rows, results in soil erosion and orchard degradation. 

The heavy rainfall also contributes to slippery soils and boggy patches. 

This not only impacts the quality of the orchard and production of the trees, but also impacts the costs and expenses in lost during production and harvesting. You also have orchard maintenance issues with regards to mowing and keeping out vermin. 

Len H. from Alstonvale NSW recognized the impact of his soil degradation and the loss of his topsoil washing down the creek from his Macadamia nut orchard. Len researched and found an innovative product made by Australian Concrete Mats. The Flexible Concrete Erosion Mat is used extensively in the civil sector would help overcome erosion issues. 

The mat helped to prevent and minimise these issues on the farm; 

  • Tracks becoming slippery and boggy around and between trees 
  • Farm gravel roads being washing out at overflows and spillways 
  • Orchard drains being filled and blocked with excess debris 
  • Machinery getting bogged during harvesting, spraying or maintenance works 
  • Unsafe access to soft edges of dams and drains, preventing regular mowing and clearing 
  • Drains not able to be mowed without getting bogged or cut deeper trenches into the drains 
  • Drains rendered ineffective due to lack of clearing and maintenance 
  • Dam spillways and overflows 
  • Nuts being unable to be collected in drains due to excess debris 
  • Valuable top soils and nuts washing away 
  • Tree roots exposed leaving them vulnerable to disease and damage 

The mats are made with concrete and geogrid. Textured concrete shapes create a hard armoured protective surface for the soil, the space between the concrete shapes makes the mats flexible and permeable, which helps to prevent water from pooling on top of the ground that creates accumulative boggy conditions. The flexible mat protects the soils from washing away and prevents deep rills and gullies advancing into the orchards 

Len engaged a local excavator company to shape a water spoon drain, which he could then direct the excess water coming out of his orchard too. This drain consisted of a 2400mm wide concrete mat being placed end to end to create a drain that is 150 lm long. 

Installation was easy and quick. It could also be installed using machinery already in the shed. Once the eroded orchard drain was prepared. Scraped and reshaped and seeded. The rolls were placed alongside the drains and simply unrolled into position. Each side was anchored using steel Ubars Anchors. They mats are immediately able to be driven over, and began working right away! 

The rolls of concrete mat come pre-rolled with an underlay geotextile. The bio-degradable Nutrition underlay helps to promote the growth of vegetation through the mat, this vegetation also helps to anchor the mat, long term. The vegetation also helps filter the sediment as it flows over the mats, this in turn helps minimise valuable sediment and top soils from washing away into waterways. 

In this case within a few days the grass had begun to shoot through the mat. Proof of the mats success and worth was tested only a week after installation. During a heavy sub-tropical rain event, (typical of the north coast region), the skies opened up, water was flowing at volumes through the orchards. 

Where the mats were laid on the farm tracks, utes were able to be driven to inspect the storm damage, the mats prevented any unsafe slippage on the tracks and no track marks left on the wet soils underneath. 

Within weeks, the hard and stable driving surface the mats enabled the first orchard mowing to be completed. The mowing was completed safely and quickly, with no vehicles getting bogged as they drove across the drains and on the drain edges. 

As a long-term and cost-effective investment to protect orchards and farms from soil erosion and sediment control, Australian Concrete Mats are a proven solution that delivers low maintenance and peace of mind. 

“A practical simple solution to stop erosion in its tracks once-and-for-all!” 

Flexible Australian Concrete Mats are an easy-to-use, efficient alternative and cost-effective solution with ongoing benefits, for land and catchment managers, and to the environment. 

For more information call 0480 234 521 or visit www.ConcreteMats.com.au

BEFORE

Pictured is the Macadamia Orchard before concrete erosion mats installed. The photo shows soil erosion and orchard degradation from machinery tracks and ruts formed on ground without grass growing between trees. 

The concrete mat unrolls into position, it is supplied with biodegradable nutrition mat that will help to encourage growth of grasses underneath and through the mat. 

3 months after installation the vegetation has grown through the mat. In time this will help to anchor the mat and also assist to capture and filter valuable sediment and topsoils from washing away in heavy rain. 

QUICK & EASY CONCRETE MATS DOES THE JOB!

The flexible quick unroll erosion control concrete mat that makes on-ground works easy!

Also suitable for roadside drains, dam spillways, low creek crossings, overflow channels, farm roads and tracks.

Australian Concrete Mats flexible concrete mats are made specifically to stabilise the ground, create a hard armoured protection for slopes and embankments, whilst they are permeable and will support vegetation growth through the mat, which will assist to capture and filter sediment and valuable nutrients from being lost into waterways.

Flexible concrete mats are a simple and efficient solution for land managers and property owners.