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Dairy Industry Efficient Nitrogen User

New Zealand dairy farmers are amongst the most efficient users of energy in the world says Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Chairman Charlie Pedersen.

Mr Pedersen was commenting on a report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry which states that energy use on New Zealand dairy farms has doubled in the past twenty years but is still lower per hectare than anywhere reported overseas.

"Environmental Indicators for Agriculture (OECD, 2000) shows fertiliser is responsible for 35% of energy use on farms, and MAF suggests the judicious use of nitrogen fertiliser as a means of improving energy efficiency, said Mr Pedersen.

"OECD ratings show that New Zealand dairy farmers are already using Nitrogen very efficiently. Increasing efficiency is not an issue when existing efficiency levels are already very high.

"Energy use does not necessarily equate to efficiency. While fertiliser is responsible for 35% of energy use on dairy farms, New Zealand is actually one of the most efficient users of nitrogen in the OECD with a 98% efficiency rating. This is the reason so little applied nitrogen fertiliser reaches our waterways and leaves little margin for further reduction in use without reducing agricultural production.

"Agriculture makes a significant contribution to New Zealand's economy. The last thing New Zealand need is to put restrictions on an industry without understanding the potential economic impact this may have."


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