After a disastrous fire cost Victorian farmer David Gillett more than a million dollars, he decided to turn his adversity into an opportunity.

After a disastrous fire cost Victorian farmer David Gillett more than a million dollars, he decided to turn his adversity into an opportunity.

Turning adversity into profits

How these award winning beef producers turned a disaster into an opportunity


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Sponsored content: Learn how these award winning beef producers turned a disaster into an opportunity.

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Story sponsored by Kingspan Environmental.

As a fifth-generation farmer David Gillett knows all too well how rewarding, and challenging, life on the land can be. He and wife Katy are award winning premium beef producers. 

Their property has been in David’s family since 1946 and innovating has been key to the ongoing success of their endeavours. 

The Gillett’s have faced their fair share of challenges along the way not the least of which was a catastrophic fire in early 2016, which cost them more than $1 million in lost feed. 

However, after this setback they didn’t dwell on their misfortune choosing instead to look towards the future, planning how they could drive their operations to new levels of quality, productivity and sustainability. 

David believes in staying not just a step, but streets ahead of average industry standards. In 2017 they commenced work on a project that would see an enormous 8,500sq/m of their damaged feedlot put under roof. 

The basic objective of the project was simple: provide quality cover during the animal’s last 30-days on the lot. However the knock-on benefits were vast and far-reaching. Reduction of stress on the animals was a major aspect from both animal welfare and commercial angles.

The new roof also allowed David to expand his water harvesting and re-use. Kingspan Environmental helped him design and deploy a rain harvesting and storage system using the Rhino tanks rural range. 

He knew that poly tanks were not an efficient option for storing more than 80,000 litres, so quality Aussie designed and made custom steel Kingspan Rhino tanks were a no-brainier decision. 

Based on the average rainfall for the area the estimate is that around 4.5 million litres of water can potentially be captured for use every year.

For such a huge roof area a networked capture and storage system of tanks was required to maximise the potential of the catchment.

Flexibility of use now and options for future expansion are the crucial elements of a great harvesting system. Both have been designed into and deployed in the Kingspan Rhino tank system at the property.

The main catchment tank is a huge 375kl with plans to add a second of the same size in future. When this main tank hits 33 per cent capacity it automatically pumps out to three daisy-chained 260kl tanks. Water is then drawn daily from these tanks.

David is also looking to add an extra 275kl to these three to increase his storage further still. This system ensures that there is always storage capacity available in the main tank in-case of huge downpours and that reliable volumes will be available for daily use.

Extra peace of mind comes from the lining in all Kingspan Rhino tanks. They all have a reinforced, food-grade, 5-layer polyethylene liner making them ideal for rural applications such as stock watering.

The flow-on environmental benefits from this catchment and Kingspan Rhino storage system are vast. 4.5 million litres of water that had the potential to be causing serious erosion, siltation in local creeks and streams not to mention on-site capture and disposal problems is instead being harvested and put to positive use. 

As with many regional areas water supply and security is a growing concern. The Gilletts had previously been drawing much of their water from town supply. This new self-sufficiency has seen the property all but stop town water use. 

An added bonus of having hundreds of thousands of litres of water on hand at any time is also found in safety and property protection. Should the unthinkable happen again and fire break out there is a large and accessible static water supply to tap into.

Story sponsored by Kingspan Environmental.

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