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Nominate a dairy farmer who you think is a hidden gem and tell us why you think they deserve to win
Farm Environment Plans
All farmers and growers to have a farm plan to manage risks to freshwater by 2025 (pg. 67-70)
- All farms have a farm plan with a freshwater module, including farm map, identifying features, risk assessment, schedule of actions, and independently audited and progress reported to regional council
- Consultation on whether this is mandatory or voluntary
- Existing industry plans are recognised if standards are met
- Generally aligns with our Dairy Tomorrow sector strategy
- We support mandatory Farm Environmental Plans (FEPs) as the best way to manage environmental risks on farm and further improving water quality outcomes quickly (for all contaminants).
- For this reason, the dairy sector has already committed to all farmers having farm plans through our Dairy Tomorrow Strategy.
- We do though have some concerns around how the proposed FEP module will be implemented.
- We are still working through the detail to ensure the requirements are workable, will deliver the outcomes we are all seeking, and build off existing industry schemes and initiatives which consider all aspects of the farm business.
- It is our view that FEPs should be considered as mandatory given the importance for all farms to have a FEP for this to be effective.
- It is important that we have adequate capability and resources to support farmers in implementing the delivery of FEPs nationally.
Standards for intensive winter grazing
Standards for intensive winter grazing of forage crops (e.g. brassicas) within 6 months after effect (pg. 79-80)
Two options being considered:
- New national standards through regulation, or:
- Current industry standards
- Standards include a range of threshold values for land area, slope, buffer widths and pugging extent, and the government is seeking feedback on what the thresholds should be. For example, winter grazing setbacks from waterways of between 5 and 20 m have been proposed.
- Winter grazing would be a permitted activity if all conditions/thresholds are met; if not, it would be a restricted discretionary activity.
- In principle we support national standards for intensive winter grazing.
- The majority of practices listed are already commonly referred to as Good Management Practice by the primary sector, for example as documented in DairyNZ’s Wintering on Crop and Pasture.
- However, we do have concerns about the proposed definitions that they want to use, for example how “pugging” is defined.
Standards for feedlots (pg. 81)
- All feedlots (stock confided in pasture-free areas for more than 80 days) to meet standards through resource consent (discretionary activity).
- Support a discretionary approach in principle, impact on dairy is likely to be small.
Stock holding areas
Standards for stock holding areas (pg. 81)
- Measures to control effluent and contaminant loss from areas where stock are held for more than 30 days a year or more than 10 days in a row.
- Sacrifice paddocks permitted activity if more than 50m away from waterways and do not include critical source areas.
- The NES for stock holding areas, which includes feed pads, would require a consent.
- Our initial position is that stock holding areas should be a permitted activity and be included as part of an FEP, as long as the defined conditions are met.
Stock exclusion (pg. 75)
Large (Accord) waterways, wetlands and lakes:
- Exclusion with 1m minimum and 5 m average setback across property by 2021 for existing dairy or 2023 other landuse for low slope land (less than 5 degrees)
- For slope greater than 5 degrees above rules applies to paddocks used for winter grazing, dairy, or intense stock numbers (14 su/ha farm scale or 18 su/ha paddock scale)
- For existing fences, farmers have until 2035 if 1m minimum and average setback is more than 2m
Small (non-accord) waterways:
- Addressed through farm environment plan
- We support stock exclusion as one of the most effective measures for reducing contaminants entering permanent waterways
- We support current fencing to remain in place, if minimum buffer widths are achieved.
- Our scientists are reviewing the need for a 5m buffer to see if there is scientific evidence to support that position.
- Through the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord our dairy farmers are already a long way on this journey.
- We support the proposed “average” width approach. This gives farmers the opportunity to target at risk areas, such as critical source areas.
New bottom line for instream nitrogen and phosphorus
New bottom line for instream nitrogen and phosphorus for ecosystem health (where instream concentrations exceed proposed standard, including parts of Southland, Canterbury, Waikato) (pg. 47)
- Regional councils to develop or amend regional plans by 2025 to meet new ecosystem health standards.
- Modelling suggests reductions in nitrogen losses of 25-80% would be required to meet these in affected catchments.
- Timeframes to meet water quality outcomes can occur over a generation (20-30 years)
- We support policies that protect ecosystem health alongside swimability.
- We do not support the proposed nitrogen and phosphorus bottom lines as the most effective way to achieve this. DairyNZ’s position is that these new ‘ecosystem health’ nutrient thresholds are not scientifically robust and are unlikely to achieve improvements in waterway health as sought by the community.
Intensification in some catchments
No further intensification from June 2020 (applies in catchments/FMUs where NPS-FM has not been fully implemented (pg. 66-67)
Unless it can be demonstrated that there is no increase on nutrient, sediment or bacteria discharges above the 2013-18 baseline:
- No increases in irrigated pastoral, arable or horticulture production above 10ha
- No changes in landuse above 10 ha
- No increase in winter forage cropping beyond the area in winter grazing in the last 5 years, or a minimum threshold if there was no winter cropping to date
- We broadly support no further intensification in over-allocated catchments until the limit setting process is implemented.
- Any increases in contaminant loading in these areas, risks requiring all farmers to make greater reductions to their footprint in future
- Intensification is already prohibited for many regions through existing regional planning processes.
- We are questioning how the proposal would quantify sediment and bacteria discharges
- We also support a measured approach in catchments that are not over-allocated.
Reduce nitrogen loss
Reduce nitrogen loss through interim measures in proposed high N catchments (Schedule 1) (which include around 21% of dairy farms) (pg. 72-74)
Three options being considered:
- Catchment N cap (for example set below the top quarter of current losses) and audited Overseer number
- National nitrogen fertilizer cap, or;
- Addressed through farm plans
Proposed Schedule 1 catchments are:
- Taharua River (Hawke’s Bay)
- Waipao Stream (Northland)
- Mataura River (Southland)
- Oreti River (Southland)
- Waimatuku Stream (Southland)
- Aparima River (Southland)
- Waihopai River (Southland)
- Waingongoro River (Taranaki)
- Motupipi River (Tasman Region)
- Piako River (Waikato Region)
- Waihou River (Waikato Region)
- Parkvale Stream (Wellington)
- Upper Rangitaiki and Otangimoana Rivers (Bay of Plenty)
Note: option 3 would also include:
Waitangi and Whangamaire Rivers (Auckland)
Mangaone and Waitohu Streams (Wellington)
- We have some concern that singularly focusing on nitrogen won’t deliver the ecosystem health outcomes being sought and therefore prefer an ecosystem outcomes approach to “at-risk” catchments.
- At the same time, we recognise the need to manage high nitrogen losses across many catchments. We are still working through what the best solution could be to address this challenge. We do believe in an outcomes-based approach, not an input one.
Stress is not a bad thing, neither is being busy. Both are part of living an active, healthy life. But when we are stressed and busy for too long, it becomes detrimental, not just to our health but to farm efficiency and productivity. Making sure you keep yourself well rested and balanced is good for you as well as the team around you.
Tips to maintaining wellness
If you can aim to improve just one of these, it can make a difference. If you were to improve all of these, it could transform your and your staff’s ability to work efficiently. How many are you practicing?
Try not to work more than 10 hours a day
After a certain number of hours, we pass the point of diminishing returns and our efforts are much less efficient. We are actually better off resting or switching to something that uses a different part of our brain. Ideally, try not to work more than eight hours a day.
Try not to go more than seven days without a day off
We lose our ability to make quick, smart decisions when working too many days in a row. Ideally, you don’t want to work more than five without a day off.
Try to have two consecutive days off when you can
It can take a whole day just to wind down from the pressures of being responsible. Having two days off gives us more of a chance for our adrenaline to drop so we can switch off and regain balance.
Take annual leave. Don’t just take the pay out!
Annual leave is there for a reason - to ensure we get the rest we need and deserve, to make sure we maintain our health and relationships and to remind us to have a balanced life.
Limit the amount of highly processed foods you consume to four portions or less per day
Highly processed foods can be harmful to your body and usually offer only short, temporary bursts of energy or enjoyment while creating long term fatigue and addiction. No matter how they make you feel at the moment, they are actually running you down and impairing your ability to work with strength and sharpness. Ideally, keep these kinds of foods to two or less a day.
Get as many fruits and veggies as you can!
These foods have what the body needs to have long term energy, fight off colds and regenerate muscle - important for a sharp mind and able body.
Have someone you can talk freely to about work frustrations
When we keep frustrations to ourselves, we can over-analyse them and lose perspective. Talking them out will keep molehills from becoming mountains.
Make time for an interest outside of work
We need to be reminded that there is more to life than work. This gives us perspective which, among other things, enhances our ability to troubleshoot on the job.
Also see the 5 ways to wellbeing at work toolkit.
Ten signs of illness and burnout to look out for
Look out for these both in yourself and in your team...
Be especially aware if you notice a number of these happening at once.
1. Continually tired and run down
2. Often sick with colds, flus or tummy bugs
3. Constantly irritable
4. Quick and noticeable weight loss or weight gain
5. Dependent on caffeine to get through the day (more than four caffeine drinks every day)
6. Frequent arguing with friends, family and work colleagues
7. Making self-degrading comments (e.g. I’m useless, I’m going nowhere, I can’t do anything right)
8. Sudden change in mood, personality or behaviour which lasts for several weeks
9. Lack of appetite
10. Prolonged disinterest in jobs or things which once created engagement and satisfaction.
What to do if you notice these signs in yourself or a team member:
It's likely that one or more of the "eight tips to maintaining wellness" are not happening. Spend some time figuring out which one, or what combination, it is.
When in doubt, take or give time off. make or encourage good food choices and talk it out.
For more information contact
If you think someone is on their way to burnout or depression:
- Be on their side - let them talk!
- Show understanding and sympathy
- Don’t judge them
- Avoid offering advice
- Avoid making comparisons
- Don’t try to minimise their pain or act like it’s not a big deal
- Improving dairy’s public perception and championing New Zealand dairy farmers willingness to be seen to be doing “what is right”.
- Challenging our priorities to ensure we are all profitable and sustainable.
- Providing leadership for the rest of the agri-sector.
- Maximising the return to our levy payers by the efficient use of resources and funding.
- Having a future focused and proactive approach, a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead.
- To focus on outcomes which continue to enhance on-farm profitability and sustainability as part of DairyNZ strategic refresh.
- A director of DairyNZ is reasonable to its ‘shareholders’ to use the levy money collected to deliver on the strategy of the organisation. As directors, we need to set a strategy for the next generation to take ownership of and help drive.
- Adding value from the grass roots up. We as directors need to understand what is happening in the paddocks, what the farmers are going to need from the
organisation in the next 10-15 years as well as today.
- Risk management – during the 2013-2015 seasons, we all experienced lower production levels to reduce costs which ultimately reduced DairyNZ income. Can the organisation deliver on its strategy with fluctuating production levels, what sort of risk management strategies are in place.
Jim van der Poel
- Ensure DairyNZ continues to provide solutions and systems, based on our pasture based systems, to keep NZ dairy farmers competitive and efficient. DairyNZ must continue to hold the capability that the industry needs to be able to continue to provide facts based solutions.
- Ensure DairyNZ engages with our fellow New Zealanders to have some common goals and objectives on what are acceptable and sustainable farming practises. Also making sure that our urban cousins are aware of a lot of the good work that farmers are doing already.
- Ensure we are connected to our farmers so that we appreciate what the key issues are, what solutions they need and then ensure those solutions get delivered. These issues and solutions could be quite unique to different regions.
- Focus on the current DairyNZ strategy refresh, clarity on how the resulting strategic objectives will be set and achieved.
- Effective use of levy payers funds to optimise benefits to the levy payers.
- Risks to DairyNZ are appropriately assessed and monitored.
- Good governance principles, which will guide DairyNZ’s management team and ensure our DairyNZ levy is utilised wisely. This includes maintaining a clear focus on providing tools, research and solutions to assist profitable and sustainable farming.
- Advocacy. We need to get better at telling the story of New Zealand dairy farming, using facts and science, and celebrate our successes, innovations and contributions within our communities.
- Collaboration between agricultural leaders. As levy payers, farmers have a stake in all our farmer-owned organisations, including our milk companies, breeding companies, fertiliser companies and other agri-sectors organisations. To succeed we need to work together, and that starts at the top.
If you're worried someone may already be depressed:
- Encourage them to speaker to their health practitioner
- Encourage them to talk to someone about it - these numbers are good:
- Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254
- Depression helpline - 0800 111 757
If you are worried someone is suicidal:
- Get professional help. Do everything you can to get a suicidal person the help her or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment.
- These are the numbers to call:
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354
This programme is funded by the Primary Growth Partnership