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Dairy farmers tackling environmental issues says new report

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 15 May, 2.15pm

For immediate release

Dairy farmers tackling environmental issues says new report

Dairy farmers are tackling environmental issues head on and have made significant progress on their commitment to protecting dairy waterways, according to a new progress report on the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord ‘Three Years On’.

The independently audited report shows that 97 percent of dairy cattle are fenced off from waterways on farms. That equals 26,197km of measured Accord waterways excluded from dairy cattle or the equivalent of 12 trips by road from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

National levels of significant non-compliance for dairy effluent systems on farms have dropped to their lowest ever, at 5.2 percent (down from 7 percent in 2013-14).

Eighty-three percent of farmers (compared to 56 percent in 2013-14) are now getting nitrogen information to help them farm more responsibly – with 9,517 nutrient budgets processed last year. The nitrogen management programme collects data to show nitrogen loss on-farm. This enables farmers to make improvements to their farm systems to reduce nitrogen loss and improve efficiency of use.

More than 99 percent of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality.

DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle, says it’s heartening to see what farmers have achieved in the past three years. “I acknowledge that there is still some work to do, but dairy farmers are making a positive difference.

“They have made great strides since the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in 2013. Dairy farmers made a commitment to good management practices and the actions they have taken, both large and small, are reflected in these results. The really special thing is that they have made this commitment voluntarily, and I take my hat off to them”, says Dr Mackle.

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther says that since the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in 2013, the industry has made significant progress on meeting it’s environmental commitments.

“The annual process of independent auditing of results gives a high degree of assurance that real progress is occurring against targets”, she says.

For further information on the Water Accord, visit dairynz.co.nz/wateraccord.

-ENDS-

Note to editors

This report covers the first three years of the Water Accord launched in 2013 (report for year ending May 2016).

As part of the audit process, the auditors spent 15 days auditing DairyNZ and the Water Accord dairy companies to verify the information provided by the dairy companies to DairyNZ for collation in this report. The auditors spent 40 days visiting 80 farms randomly selected from DairyNZ’s data base to verify information coming from the farmer to the dairy company.

About the Sustainable Dairy: Water Accord

It was launched in 2013 and is a set of national good management practice benchmarks aimed at lifting environmental performance on dairy farms and recording pledges by the dairy sector, with the support of others, to assist and encourage dairy farmers to adopt those good management practices and to monitor and report progress.

It was developed under the oversight of the Dairy Environment Leadership Group which includes farmers and representatives from dairy companies, central government, regional councils, and the Federation of Maori Authorities.


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