Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

As farmers are excluding stock, why regulate?

Media Release


3 September 2014

As farmers are excluding stock, why regulate?

With the water quality of New Zealand’s water bodies generally stable to improving, using the law to enforce stock exclusion from the start of the 2017/18 season implies the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord has failed, when in fact, it has been an outstanding success.

“Government needs to think carefully about the policy message this will send,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“The voluntary Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord is an outstanding success. It’s a marvelous example of dairy farmers, industry and councils all working together for better environmental outcomes.

“In just over a decade, stock has been excluded from some 23,000 kilometres of waterways. That’s enough fencing to go from Auckland to Beijing and back again, with a one way trip to Queenstown.

“As of last year we’d hit 90 percent of the target with 100 percent stock exclusion in the voluntary Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord to be achieved by 31 May 2017.

“Stock exclusion may appear voluntary at an industry level, but it is a Fonterra condition of supply, so for farmers, it’s effectively compulsory,” Mr Hoggard said.

Farmers on the West Coast will be concerned given they and Westland Milk Products have worked closely with Westland Regional Council due to the Coast’s unique environment.

“Most farming on the Coast is more extensive than intensive,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Provincial President.

“That said, there’s been a hell of a lot of work to put in fences, bridges and culverts on those farms unable to meet permitted activity rules. It proves the system is working since the more intensive guys and farmers like me, in sensitive catchments, have had to fence and bridge.

“The Coast’s permitted activity rules relate less to stock exclusion and more to conspicuous pugging or slumping given the volume of rain we get. Stock crossings are limited to animal numbers and times per month and rules like this have been in place since about 2004.

“Basically, it is an effects and intensity model and is delivering positive results. Our guys have worked with the Department of Conservation on whitebait spawning habitat education.

“Riparian rules are the last resort here and waterways that have been fenced off and planted are marvellous looking where looked after. Older ones with boundaries either side of creek are full of blackberry, broom and gorse and are frankly an unfishable eyesore.

“It’s all good to say you can put up a portable fence but beef runs are miles from power. Portable solar units run slow as we’ve learned and cows also figure this out quickly too,” Ms Milne explained.

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre was concerned that with some politicians wanting to exclude all stock on all farms, extensive farm systems would become almost impossible to farm

“The biggest environmental issue for drystock farmers isn’t pure stock exclusion but land stability and combatting erosion,” says Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“As drystock farmers, we use Beef+Lamb NZ’s superb Land and Environment Plans, which are worked through regionally with many councils. The problem we have with blunt regulation is that it might solve one problem but cause many more.

“The practicalities of steep gullies, flash flooding and invasive noxious weeds, means it’s nigh impossible to fence off every single waterway. You are talking topography and nature.

“We’ve found one of the best ways to keep cattle out of water is to provide shade trees and reticulated water, giving them the chance to keep cool and away from a waterway.

“While fencing is tax deductible as an enhancement to land, what isn’t, is the equipment to provide stock drinking water and that’s vital to keep them from waterways.

“If Government wants to help out then instead of gestures they would be better to look at the tax treatment of water reticulation and stock crossings,” Mr Powdrell concluded.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Manawatu-Whanganui Projects: PGF Top-Up To Rural Broadband Roll-Out

The government has effectively raided the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund to top up the budget for the second phase of its rural broadband initiative, filling in mobile 'black spots' and ensuring broadband is available to marae that don't have access now. More>>

ALSO:

Other Windy Cities: Auckland-Chicago Named A Top 10 ‘Most Exciting’ New Route

The inclusion of Auckland-Chicago on Lonely Planet’s Where to fly in 2019? The 10 most exciting new flight routes list comes just two weeks before Air New Zealand prepares to celebrate its inaugural flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on 30 November. More>>

Deadly Strain: ESR Ups Its Reporting On Meningococcal Disease

The increasing number of cases of Group W Meningococcal disease (MenW) has prompted ESR to increase its reporting on the disease to the Ministry of Health. ESR has upped its reporting to weekly. More>>

ALSO:

Very Small Things: "Game-Changing" 3D Printing Technology Launched

New Zealand microfabrication researchers Andrea Bubendorfer and Andrew Best, the co-inventors of a new way of fabricating very small things with Laminated Resin Printing (LRP), are part of Callaghan Innovation’s MicroMaker3D team launching the new patent pending technology in the US this week. More>>

ALSO: