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Dairy farmers making progress towards clean water

Dairy farmers making progress towards clean water

Dairy farmers are making good progress towards clean healthy streams under the Fonterra Dairying and Clean Streams Accord, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton, Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden, and Local Government New Zealand, today released The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord Snapshot of Progress 2003/2004, at an event in the Wairarapa.

Since the accord was signed in May 2003, about 12,000 dairy farmers, or 99 per cent of Fonterra suppliers, have taken part in voluntary environmental assessments of their farm.

Mr Sutton said the assessments provided farmers with advice on how to lift their environmental performance, with the results fed into a national picture of what's being done to meet accord targets.

The accord sets specific targets to improve water quality that need to be met by 2007 and 2012.

Mr Sutton said the data collected gave a baseline of information on dairying and waterways in New Zealand. Already a high proportion of Fonterrra suppliers, around 67 percent, either excluded stock from waterways or had no waterways on their farms.

Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden recognised there was work to be done.

"But it's pleasing to see what has already been achieved voluntarily by our Fonterra farmers," he added.

Mr Sutton said the assessment found one 2007 target had been met already ? that 50 per cent of waterway stock crossings have a bridge or culvert.

"It will, however, be a real challenge to increase the amount of waterways that are protected to meet the 2012 target of 90 per cent."

To help with that effort the Ministry for the Environment has produced culvert design guidelines.

Mr Sutton said that the results so far show the accord is working but there are some areas that will require a determined effort.

He said 17 per cent of farms had a nutrient management system in place. The target of 100 per cent by 2007 would take a focused effort.

"Overall, nutrient management and systems should produce net financial benefits to most farmers using them."

Mr Sutton said the dairy industry acknowledged they faced an issue and have driven this accord.

"It shows clearly what can be achieved when people work together," he added

For a copy of the progress report click on http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications


Farm Waterways: a regional comparison

• Region with most waterways on dairy farms: Waikato
• Region with least waterways on dairy farms: Hawkes Bay
• Region with greatest length of waterways per farm: Southland
• Region with least length of waterways per farm: Auckland
• Supplier with longest length of waterways: Wellington
• Region with most stock exclusion: Southland
• Region with least stock exclusion: Wellington
• Largest percentage of oxidation ponds: Taranaki
• Largest percentage of spray disposal: Southland
• Largest number of race crossings per farm: Manawatu/Wanganui
• Least number of race crossings per farm: Hawkes Bay
• Most unbridged regular crossings: Waikato
• Greatest uptake of nutrient budgets: Southland
• Most outstanding resource consents Northland

Source: On Farm Environment and Animal Welfare Assessment Survey, Fonterra, 2003/2004.

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