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Govt boost for Otago freshwater project

Amy Adams

2 SEPTEMBER, 2014

Govt boost for Otago freshwater project

Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced funding of $125,000 to support an Otago Regional Council study to measure nitrogen leaching in the iconic Lakes catchments of Hawea, Wanaka and Wakatipu.

“The study will improve the prediction of nitrogen leaching from sheep and beef farms, which is not as well understood as dairy farming,” Ms Adams says.

The project will validate predictions from the Overseer model used by farmers to manage nutrient loss from their farms. Overseer is a computer model that calculates and estimates the nutrient flows in a farming system and identifies risk for the environment through nutrient loss.

Otago Regional Council is implementing its water plan by assisting farmers within the Lakes catchments of Otago. Farmers in these catchments have agreed to a nitrogen loading limit of 15kg of nitrogen per hectare per year, and to use Overseer to model and report nitrogen loss.

“Farmers need robust modelling approaches so they can adjust their farming operations.

“This project will provide further validation on the role of soil type and influence of rainfall, and refine outputs to ensure farms can remain financially viable and manage to limits.”

Both the science and policy will be transferable to other regions using the Overseer model.

The $125,000 in funding is from a round of the Government’s Community Environment Fund.

The funding round was aimed at activities that support key elements of the Government’s freshwater programme, including implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and regional planning and community participation in freshwater management.


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