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Annual Crop Survey Brings In Numbers For Council

A group of summer students at Council have completed the Annual Crop Survey for 2020/21, supplying crucial information to Council and landholders about land and water use in our region.

“Information the students gathered is used to manage our region’s physical resources, as it helps us determine the quality and quantity of water and the demands on it, the types of crops grown here, and it identifes trends,” said environmental science team leader Paul Murphy.

“We’ll use the information to monitor waterways, to help us develop farm environment plans, and inform the farming community and the general public on crop types and trends. It’s a really important base document for the future of land and water use around Tairāwhiti.

“It helps us identify clear trends, such as that the total area of crops has increased by nearly 300ha over 13 years. The first crop survey was conducted over the summer of 2007/2008.”

The survey details the type, location and total area of summer crops in the Gisborne district. More than 24,000ha were surveyed, of which just over 15,000ha were summer crops. Pasture and tilled land were not counted as summer crops.

New rules around cropping and intensive farming will come into effect by 1 May this year, and areas posing a threat to water quality were identified across the region and classified under the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP).

“The TRMP has rules for protecting fresh water around intensively farmed stock, winter intensive grazing and commercial vegetable growing,” Mr Murphy said.

“The total area classed as posing a threat to water quality was 437.8 hectares, but the new rules will not come into effect until 1 July in most areas, giving farmers time to adjust their practices to comply. Recent Council reports such as the State of Environment and Freshwater Accounting reports have identified the Taruheru River as having the poorest water quality.

The summer and winter crop surveys together provide a wealth of data for future planning.

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