EMMA HORSLEY.A dairy farmer accused of allowing cow dung to flood over his farm has pointed the finger of blame at his farm manager and called him lazy.Farm manager Darryl Woods – convicted earlier this week at the Environment Court in Palmerston North on six charges of illegally discharging effluent to land where it may enter a waterway, plus one charge of deceiving a council enforcement officer – claims he did not know how to use the effluent pond system. He alleges Duncan Bruce Cheetham told him to let effluent run through several hydrants, a claim Cheetham denies.
«Woods was well versed in what to do and how the system worked,» he said. «He just couldn’t be bothered to do the right thing, just downright lazy.»
Cheetham, owner of Kauwhata Farm on Rangitikei Line, is defending two charges of breaching abatement notices, relating to the alleged discharging of effluent to land where it might enter an unnamed tributary of the Taonui Stream.
At the Environment Court yesterday, Cheetham challenged claims by former farm manager Woods that he had been told the farm’s effluent treatment system was not working properly on several occasions.
«I was never told about any major effluent issues, only about one blockage which I dealt with.»
Cheetham, who owns several properties, said he had a hands-off approach to the farm as he did not want to micro-manage the staff.
«I considered myself a farm adviser. I would come in, have meetings with the staff, look around the farm with Woods and check on animal condition and feed. I did not see any problems with effluent.»
Cheetham bought the property that he had managed for several years from his parents in 2008. He said the first he heard there was a compliance problem was when he was called by Horizons Regional Council. «I was horrified, said a few choice words to Woods on the phone and got on to the job of fixing the problem.»
When a compliance officer visited the farm he found large areas of effluent ponding around hydrants.
The case is set to finish today.