Dry­s­tock farm­ers urged to have say

South Waikato News - - FARMING - By AN­DREA FOX

Time is run­ning out for sheep and beef farm­ers in Waikato to have their say on the likely im­pact of loom­ing new wa­ter man­age­ment pol­icy on their busi­nesses.

And as there are 3700 dry­s­tock farms in the Waikato catch­ments that stand to be af­fected by the com­ing pol­icy on ni­trate, phos­pho­rous, bac­te­ria and sed­i­ment runoff to rivers, wa­ter­ways and ground­wa­ter in the re­gion, that is a con­cern for James Bai­ley, of­fi­cial dry­s­tock sec­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Waikato Healthy Rivers col­lab­o­ra­tive stake­holder group.

Bai­ley, a Ti­rau farmer, said too few of those farms’ own­ers are prob­a­bly pre­pared for the change that is com­ing in re­gional coun­cil pol­icy.

‘‘Peo­ple need to have a good han­dle on nu­tri­ent cy­cles on their farm. There are go­ing to be lim­its and tar­gets com­ing out of this process.

‘‘Farm­ers need to un­der­stand nu­tri­ent man­age­ment, have a plan and bud­get and get on the front foot with farm plan­ning. Farm plan­ning has been a big topic of con­ver­sa­tion (around pol­icy devel­op­ment) and those on the front foot will have an ad­van­tage.’’

Bai­ley said farm­ers should find out about pol­icy devel­op­ment and get in­volved in the dis­cus­sions by con­tact­ing him on cs­gdry­s­tock@gmail.com and the Healthy Rivers web­site.

Dry­s­tock sec­tor meet­ings for the Healthy Rivers project, or­gan­ised by Beef+ Lamb, are be­ing held at: Ohinewai Hall, June 30, 11am; Pu­taruru Cen­tral Kids Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, July 7, 11am; Otoro­hanga Work­ing Men’s Club, July 14, 11am.

‘‘The big thing for me is that I be­lieve there’s po­ten­tial to in­crease prof­itabil­ity while achiev­ing bet­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes by man­ag­ing our cap­i­tal well,’’ Bai­ley said.

‘‘I am try­ing hard to com­mu­ni­cate this so that the pol­icy fos­ters in­no­va­tion and al­lows farm­ers to re­tain con­trol of the com­plex­i­ties within their farm­ing sys­tems while mov­ing to­wards more sus­tain­able out­comes.’’

The col­lab­o­ra­tive stake­hold­ers’ group is due to make a pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tion, on be­half of the var­i­ous sec­tors it rep­re­sents, to the Waikato Healthy Rivers com­mit­tee by Novem­ber.

Bai­ley said that the pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tion was sched­uled to be con­verted into pol­icy by April next year.

Ti­rau sheep, beef and dairy farmer

James Bai­ley.

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