Although some farmers have been planting trees on their land for a couple of decades or more, and over the past three years under the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord the planting effort has ramped up to help improve water quality.
As part of the Accord, farmers voluntarily – and at their own expense – fence off and bridge on-farm waterways to exclude dairy cows. To date, the fencing farmers have installed to protect waterways measures 26,197 kms. Along the margins between fences and the water, most Accord farmers have planted countless hundreds of thousands of mostly native species.
DairyNZ water quality specialist Aslan Wright-Stow says this riparian planting assists water quality, and ecological health by filtering sediment and absorbing or transforming nutrients.
“Riparian planting also reduces bank erosion and provides shade over the stream creating favourable habitats for the likes of insects and birds.”
DairyNZ, in conjunction with Landcare Research and regional councils, has produced 13 regional guides that provide information about set-back distances, planting density, plant species best-suited to the region and when to plant. The guides are at dairynz.co.nz/planting-guides
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