Farm­ers share vi­sion of to bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment

Waipa Post - - News -

DairyNZ sup­ports the Gov­ern­ment’s plans to amend the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment and in­tro­duce a new Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dard.

DairyNZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Mackle says we share Min­is­ter Parker’s vi­sion for im­prov­ing New Zealand’s wa­ter­ways and the need to ac­cel­er­ate the good work that is al­ready un­der­way in many parts of the coun­try.

“Un­der our Dairy To­mor­row strat­egy we com­mit­ted to lead­ing ef­forts to im­prove our wa­ter­ways, and much of this in­volves changes to how we care for our land and soil.”

Healthy soils in­crease farm pro­duc­tiv­ity and fil­ters wa­ter to help pre­vent nu­tri­ents en­ter­ing wa­ter­ways.

“No farmer wants to see their soil dam­aged,” says Tim.

“At DairyNZ our sci­en­tists are work­ing with farm­ers in a num­ber of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to find out what changes they can make, es­pe­cially over win­ter when soil is most at risk of dam­age, to ac­cel­er­ate wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ments.

“In Aparima River for in­stance we are mon­i­tor­ing how ini­tia­tives like tar­geted plant­ing at spe­cific times of the year can im­prove soil con­di­tion and lower wa­ter con­tam­i­nants.

“These are com­plex projects be­cause ev­ery re­gion and farm is dif­fer­ent, and they usu­ally in­volve mul­ti­ple land uses, not just dairy,” says Tim.

“DairyNZ has sig­nif­i­cant re­search and tri­als un­der­way across at risk catch­ments to sup­port this vi­sion and we are work­ing to pro­vide our farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties with prac­ti­cal tools and en­dur­ing so­lu­tions.

“Around the coun­try we’re see­ing in­creas­ing num­bers of farm­ers us­ing so­lu­tions like stand­off pads or re­mov­ing stock from the pad­dock when the soil is most vul­ner­a­ble to com­paction.

“Many farm­ers are also restor­ing wet­lands and car­ry­ing out ex­ten­sive plant­ing to man­age sed­i­ment loss and ero­sion prone land.

“Our farm­ers have been on this jour­ney for a long time and the ev­i­dence and in­for­ma­tion about best farm­ing prac­tice is con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with the Gov­ern­ment on how on-farm tree plant­ing could be bet­ter sup­ported through the One Bil­lion Trees pro­gramme, and con­tin­ued fresh­wa­ter in­vest­ment in R&D from Gov­ern­ment.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber we can’t talk about just one en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue in iso­la­tion,” says Tim.

He says we are also heav­ily fo­cused on re­duc­ing the dairy sec­tor’s green­house gas emis­sions and this work will di­rectly im­prove the health of our soil and wa­ter­ways.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with these new ad­vi­sory groups an­nounced to­day and although the sci­en­tific en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­per­tise work­ing in the dairy sec­tor isn’t di­rectly in­cluded

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