The new DairyNZ Riparian Planner provides farmers with an easy, affordable solution to riparian management.
The Riparian Planner is an online tool that creates a farm-specific riparian management plan. The plan outlines costs to help prioritise farm tasks around fencing, planting, maintenance and managing riparian zones.
DairyNZ senior developer Matt Highway is trialling the Riparian Planner with farmers to create riparian management plans.
“A riparian plan can be rolled out over a few years so by planning now and taking a long-term approach to riparian zones, farmers can budget in changing times,” says Matt.
“There is a lot of pressure on farmers at the moment but I continue to see some great work by dairy farmers managing their waterways. Farmers tell me they really appreciate the tool’s simplicity and accuracy, and being able to work within their budget.”
Completing a plan
A riparian management plan takes less than an hour to complete, depending on its complexity and how the riparian zone will be managed.
Having a plan should reduce the risk of planting in the wrong place, at the wrong time or spending too much.
Once completed, the plan includes costs, actions and a timeline, a plant list, a map and details on how much fencing to buy, where to plant, site preparation and pest control.
Map makes it easy
The tool’s map feature makes planning easy.
Simply enter the farm's supply number and zoom in on the property to mark out existing waterways including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and drains. Select each waterway’s current state by width, the area fenced off and vegetation type, then tick if it has weeds, exotics, natives or grass.
Finally, select if each waterway is fully or partially fenced and choose what to achieve over the next one to five years, whether you plant or use grass to filter overland run-off.
As the riparian zone develops or anything changes on-farm, revisit the Riparian Planner to update details for further planning.
Plan takes pressure off
A riparian management plan takes pressure off the farm business and protects waterways.
Riparian zones help filter out sediment and nutrients before they enter waterways, prevent land erosion and increase habitat for native wildlife.
By setting a planting plan through the Riparian Planner, riparian management can be done in a way that is financially viable and within time constraints.
The Riparian Planner was developed by DairyNZ and Landcare Research, with input from regional councils and key environmental experts.
Get your plan now.
The tool is available here: dairynz.co.nz/waterways
*Waterways and drains greater than 1 metre in width and deeper than 30cm.
This project is funded through the transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2016