But more to the point, Canterbury dairy farmers are doing their bit to protect and enhance their local environment and waterways, says DairyNZ’s regional manager for Canterbury and North Otago, Virginia Serra.
“Dairy farmers in the region have farm environment plans which means they are set up to farm in an environmentally sustainable manner 365 days of the year.”
Ms Serra says the farm environment plans approved by ECan include the DairyNZ Sustainable Milk Plan system, and that a key focus is to protect on-farm waterways from sediment, nutrients, and harmful bacteria.
“Another major focus is on efficient water use, including good management of irrigation where more and more farmers utilise the latest technology water meters to ensure no more water is used than necessary.
“Technology also comes to the fore showing farmers exactly when and where to spray recycled effluent, a valuable fertiliser, onto their paddocks. DairyNZ has a range of tools for farmers in this area, including an app that allows farmers to make calculations out in the paddock using their smart phones.”
Ms Serra says Canterbury dairy farmers are also keen proponents of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord, a voluntary initiative that has seen more than $1 billion spent over the past three-four years by dairy farmers around the country on environment related work.
“This investment includes fencing and bridging waterways to exclude stock. Farmers nationally have installed 26,197 kms of fencing – that’s the equivalent of 12 trips by road between Bluff and Cape Reinga.”
She says farmers countrywide have also planted millions of native plant species as riparian buffers along the fenced waterways to assist with protection.
“Farmers have also invested enormously in effluent management systems that are council approved, and greatly contribute to the drop in significant non-compliance statistics, which are also at an all-time low nationally.”
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