Environment and emissions

New project to support farmers in minimising rural waste

[16 April/The Country] The Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, announced the launch of the New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation Project on Thursday. Rural recycling programme Agrecovery will offer nationwide events for farmers to sustainably dispose of waste. These events will clear agrichemical and motor oil containers, unwanted agrichemicals, used motor oil, fertiliser bags...

Supreme environmental win for Tīrau farmers

[16 April/Stuff NZ] The 2019 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards Supreme Award has been won by Tīrau’s Adrian and Pauline Ball. Mr and Mrs Ball were one of five finalists for the award and have run Dennley farms for 30 years in Rangipai Road and also have a dry stock block along the Waihou River....

Farm Environment Awards supreme winner named

[12 April/Rural Life] Kepler Farm in Te Anau has been named this year’s supreme winner of the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Travis Leslie and Catriona Cunningham have been managing the beef and sheep farm since 2012. Carrying about 7300 sheep and 1650 cattle, the operation’s main focus is a terminal sire sheep flock called...

David Parker says he’ll have failed if rivers not healthier when he leaves politics

[08 April/The Country] David Parker, Minister for the Environment reports that if the country’s fresh water is not in a better state by the time he leaves politics from when he started he will feel he has personally failed. Mr Parker commented that New Zealand has been aware of issues around increasing nutrient loads and...

More Provincial Growth Fund money for Northland with another $21 million funding announced

[05 April/The Country] The Government Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) have announced Northland projects to receive more than $21 million. The PGF will invest up to $18.5 million into water storage to assist the region to cope in times of water shortage during drought. Regional Development Minister Shane Jones reported that it could bring the region...

Methane matters to DairyNZ head

[03 April/Farmers Weekly] Dr Tim Mackle, DairyNZ’s head reports that he welcomes the shift over the past few years in understanding methane’s role as a greenhouse gas and how the dairy sector will make a change. 12 farms nationwide have been selected to model 44 systems at an attempt minimise greenhouse gas. The greatest gains...

Owl Farm shows how to reduce emissions while remaining profitable

[01 April/Stuff NZ] Owl Farm, a Cambridge demonstration dairy farm has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and nutrients into waterways whilst lifting its operating profit by 14 percent. This is between 2016 and 2018. Emissions were reduced by 8 percent through reducing its imported feed levels and lowering its stocking rate. The 147 hectare farm...

Cash injection for Tararua dairy farmers’ crusade against nitrate leaching

[30 March/Stuff NZ] Plantain, a commonly found weed is being intentionally injected into pastures on Tararua dairy farms.  Plantain is know to help reduce nitrogen leaching into waterways. The Sustainable Farming Fund will contribute $600,000 over three years for the project and is co-funded by DairyNZ, through its farmer levy. The fibrous plant holds less...

Grim global climate report: Drought, rising seas, millions displaced

[29 March/The Country] The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) just issued its State of the Global Climate in 2018 report. The report paints a dismal global picture under climate change, as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. Extreme weather is forecast to continue and exposure of climate extremes in the agriculture sector is threatening to reverse...

Take nothing but memories, leave no geotags says Leave No Trace outdoor ethics

[28 March/The Country] Department of Conservation has teamed up with Leave No Trace New Zealand to launch a new environmental campaign educating the public on seven outdoor ethics. The campaign is demonstrated in short videos, with two currently having been released and the rest to be published in the following weeks. The scheme comes into...

Dry conditions could see drought declared in

[22 March/Stuff NZ] Waikato, the country’s biggest dairy region, could be facing an Autumn drought unless there is significant rain in the next ten days. Unusual warm Autumn weather has seen soil moisture levels drop. If they continue, the Ministry for Primary Industries may be asked to announce a drought in Waikato. If a drought...

Pilot ‘trees and carbon’ workshop proves popular

[20 March/Rural Life] A pilot project run by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) focusing on farmers making the most of the One Billion Trees Fund has generated a lot of interest. A series of workshops in the South Island were held names ‘’Farms, Trees and Carbon’’ providing an overview of global warming as well...

Sunflowers used to regenerate soil

[20 March/Rural Life] A pasture mix containing sunflowers is being used as a method of soil regeneration and as an alternative polyculture forage on a dairy farm in Waiwera Gorge. Mark and Madeline Anderson own a 580 hectare dairy farm that runs 750 milking cows as well as around 400 young stock. Mr Anderson reports...

Foodstuffs turns focus on reducing soft plastics

[18 March/Supermarket News] The co-operative Foodstuffs have announced they will not be part of the limited plastics recycling relaunch. They are instead focusing their efforts on the reduction of plastic packaging. Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager for Foodstuffs reports that the relaunch does not address the core problem and while it is well-intentioned, they are instead...

How farmers can build up carbon in soils

[18 March/Rural News Group] Massey University and Plant & Food Research are completing research through full inversion tillage to renew pasture offsetting greenhouse emissions. Professor Mike Hedley of Massey University reports that the research is based on increasing carbon in subsoil in low to rolling country so that it can be easily ploughed and farmers...

Companies join forces to create New Zealand forestry portfolio

[15 March/The Country] Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy have joined forces to create a partnership to establish a forest portfolio to gather carbon.  The collaboration will help participants to meet their annual requirements under the emissions trading scheme. Anthony Beverley, Chief Executive of DrylandCarbon reported that now the partnership has...

‘Green’ hydrogen: Could it save Taranaki’s energy industry?

[15 March/The Country] The future of energy in Taranaki may be headed in the direction of “green” hydrogen. In a recent report released by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the region is already the “perfect fit” for this decision to be implemented. The region’s oil and gas industry is currently responsible for an estimated $1.57 billion...

Dutch company DSM keen to trial methane cutting tech this year

[13 March/Stuff NZ] Dutch nutrition company DSM has developed a feed additive to limit the methane burped out by cattle, sheep and goats by up to 30 percent. The additive could be introduced to New Zealand farms later in the year if regulators give it the green light. A single dairy cow generates about 3...

Humble native’s anti-microbial properties could be a new tool in improving waterways

[11 March/Stuff NZ] The mānuka plant could soon be used in improving New Zealand’s freshwater quality. ESR, Waikato Regional Council and local iwi are 18 months into a five year study on the tree to figure out its ability to filter out freshwater-harming nutrients and pathogens. The trial site is on the shores of Lake...

Double standard: Vege aisle plastic rolls on despite supermarket bag ban

[14 January/NZ Herald] Supermarkets have now dropped the use of single-use plastic checkout bags but other plastic bags are still available, notably those for fruit and vegetables. The Herald has witnessed many shoppers tearing off extra produce bags and placing them in their trolleys, empty. A Foodstuffs spokesperson (New World and Pak ‘N Save),  said...

NZ Emissions Trading Scheme simplified

[10 January/NZ Herald] Following public consultation in August and September, the first of two planned tranches of improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) have been announced. The improvements seek to provide more certainty to scheme participants and create a more effective and fairer ETS. Key announcements were viewed as improvements making the...

Dairy farmers are listening, says DairyNZ

[10 January/The Country] A Colmar Brunton conducted survey that found healthy rivers and lakes were the greatest public concern in New Zealand comes as no surprise to DairyNZ who believe that Kiwis care deeply about waterways.  DairyNZ has established its Clear Vision movement, which looks to all New Zealanders to do their bit to look...

Dairy gold rush is over as nutrient limits put brake on Canterbury dairy conversions

[January 9/ Stuff] The number of dairy farm conversions in Canterbury has decreased due to new rules to prevent deterioration of water and improve community demands. Farms looking to convert from another land use can only do so within the farm’s existing nutrient leaching limit, which makes dairy conversions increasingly difficult to do. These rules...

2018 climate continues ‘alarming trend’ – NIWA

[8 January/Radio NZ] The latest National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Climate summary report released showed 2018 kicked off with the hottest month ever recorded. Temperatures in 2018 continued to hit record highs, with scientists calling the year a continuation of an “alarming trend”. The year as a whole was the second-equal warmest on...