Declining native bird numbers is a serious situation, and DairyNZ is pleased the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recognises that the environmental work dairy farmers are carrying out on their farms is helping birds.
This on-farm environmental work includes improving water quality in rural areas through fencing waterways and riparian planting, which is leading to the increase in many areas of the natural gateways our native bird species need to thrive.
Tim Mackle, DairyNZ CEO says “it’s positive to see the contribution of dairy farmers, alongside the wider agricultural sector, is recognised by the report. Farmers have placed 4000 covenants into the Queen Elizabeth II trust, which sees land fenced off and often planted in native species, creating important habitats for native flora and fauna”.
The Sustainable Dairy Water Accord Year 3 report, released on May 15, also reflects 26,197km of dairy farm waterways are now fenced off. Generally, farmers plant out the margin between the fencing and the water with native species, such as manuka, flaxes and sedges, which help to further protect the waterway and surrounding habitat, encouraging native birdlife.
Dr Mackle adds “controlling pests needs to be a continued focus for all landowners, as the damage to native wildlife by pests such as possums, stoats, and rats is significant. Dairy farmers, via their milk solids levy, contribute $28.6 million per annum towards possum control through the TB-Free control programme, and this has an enormously positive affect on New Zealand’s biodiversity”.
New Zealand dairy companies are also contributing with a $3 million investment over two years in the Zero Invasive Predators research project.
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