Farm to move cows after complaints of smell
The owner of a dairy farm that has attracted hundreds of complaints from neighbours about foul smells has told them he planned to move more than a quarter of his herd to a new location.
Paul Almeida, who bought Devonshire’s Green Land Farm last year, said at a meeting this week he hoped to move up to 40 of his 130 cows to Spittal Pond in Smith’s to help reduce the odours.
He added he is also still awaiting planning permission to install new equipment to cut the stink from a manure pit.
Mr Almeida told owners of neighbouring homes: “I’m trying my best. I don’t sleep at night sometimes.
“I want this even more than you guys do.”
He told a group of around two dozen neighbours that since he took over the farm in July, he has tried to keep the 130 cows on the Devonshire property in the field longer and continued to treat the manure pit with enzymes to reduce the smell.
Mr Almeida said he needed new equipment so he could transfer part of the herd to a former dairy farm site at Spittal Pond.
He added: “We are waiting on prices from overseas for equipment for Spittal Pond.
“Once we have the prices, it will take time to put it in the container and the engineer will come down and install it.
“I will also need to apply for permission for the Spittal Pond farm to be reopened; they haven’t given me permission yet.”
Green Land has been the subject of almost 600 complaints about foul smells and pest infestations since 2017.
The problems were blamed on the farm’s manure pit, installed to hold manure and urine produced by the herd.
Mr Almeida said a planning application for new aeration equipment, intended to reduce odour by “50 to 80 per cent”, had also still to be approved.
He said the application was submitted by the farm’s previous owners, Valter and Lidia Medeiros.
Mr Almeida said: “The Medeiros’s gave them the information, but planning was not happy with the information available in the plan so we had to call the dealers and ask them these questions.
“We are waiting for planning to look over it and sign off on it.”
Michael Dunkley, the area MP and the owner of milk wholesaler Dunkley’s Dairy, said: “This is a system that none of us have used in Bermuda and they want to make sure that it’s appropriate to use and that it’s going to do the job.”
One area resident said they had been told by the Department of Planning there were no planning applications for the farm filed last year.
However, Mr Dunkley explained that the planning application to move cattle to Spittal Pond was linked to the earlier application for the problematic manure pit.
Mr Dunkley said: “When the pit was first approved by planning, they put in a caveat that said if it didn’t work for people in the neighbourhood, they would have to do something else.”
He explained that the aeration equipment, which has been successfully used in Ireland, was the proposed solution.
Mr Dunkley said he had worked with Mr Almeida to resolve the problems and if planning approval for the aeration system was given, the equipment could be installed soon after.
He said: “Based on what I have seen, the installation should take around two weeks once it arrives here.
“Paul, who was at the planning department today, and the planning agent told him that when he has more information, he will get back to him with any questions.”
He added: “I would have thought that, right after Christmas, we would have received some feedback because he has reached out and I have reached out, but I haven’t even received a response by e-mail yet.”
Mr Almeida said he had also tried to tackle complaints about pigeons and flies drawn to the farm.
He told the crowd at the meeting on Wednesday that he and his staff had worked to prevent excess cow feed from being left out, which attracted birds.
Mr Almeida added: “I can buy equipment to get these flies, but I need to get permission for new conduits to put in plugs. I would love to do that.”
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