Environment and emissions

Foreigners and corporates can get taxpayer help

[10 June/Farmers Weekly] Forestry Minister Shane Jones confirmed $2.2 million of the $118 million Billion Trees fund has been allocated, of which $1.5m is for planting native trees and the balance for exotics. Foreign and corporate landowners are eligible for taxpayer help to plant trees but the subsidy does not allow for planting whole farms....

Solving the sticky fruit stickers snag

[06 June/Farmers Weekly] Billions of fruit stickers go into the environment every year and now three 18-year-old tertiary students have an idea of how to solve this. Maggie Peacock, Sarah Wixon and Zoe Rookes have created the Uble, which is a plastic-free, biodegradable, warm water soluble alternative to the plastic fruit sticker. Miss Wixon stated...

Focusing climate change targets on farming ‘isn’t really justified’

[05 June/The Country] Setting stringent climate change targets without understanding their cost or feasibility risks is placing an unfair burden on some sectors, according to Climate Change Professor David Frame. Professor Frame states that moving the country to a net-zero carbon economy will have benefits but also real costs so it is important these are...

‘Indefensible’: Auckland councillor wants city to stop using Roundup in public areas

[04 June/The Country] Auckland Councillor John Watson is calling for the Auckland Council to stop spraying Roundup in parks and roadsides in Auckland, following a landmark US ruing finding that the weed killer may have caused cancer. The safety of Roundup has been the subject of much controversy after the World Health Organisation’s International Agency...

Methane targets will challenge sector – analyst

[03 June/Rural Life] Achieving proposed methane targets under the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill by 2050 will require changes to future farming practices, Rabobank’s Animal Protein and Sustainability Analyst Blake Holgate reports. Targets released by the Zero Carbon Bill were absolute reduction targets and would not be able to be offset through the planting of trees....

FIELDAYS: High-value soils under pressure

[31 May/Farmers Weekly] Valuing high-quality soils as a resource of national significance is a step closer as the Government considers submissions in coming weeks on a national policy statement to protect them. The statement is intended to target the high-value classes 1 and 2 soils that account for 5% of NZ’s soil profile but almost...

Help for farmers to go greener

[31 May/Farmers Weekly] Meeting the challenges of climate change and cleaning up the environment are the focus primary sector funding in this year’s Budget. The $229 million Sustainable Land Use Package is designed to protect and restore at-risk waterways and wetlands and support farmers to use their land more sustainably. The announcement includes few specifics...

AgResearch project to determine whether dairy cows can be potty trained

[31 May/Stuff NZ] AgResearch is looking into whether dairy cows can be potty trained in order to capture cow effluent. The suggested approach would significantly reduce nitrogen loss if successful as farmers could capture cow effluent before it has the chance to reach waterways. The average cow produces 70 litres of effluent each day, 10...

Gamblers lift farm prices

[31 May/Farmers Weekly] International investors are speculating that the cost of carbon credits will rise and are driving forestry expansion, pushing up farmland prices. Rural leaders met several Cabinet ministers last week to air their concerns at the scale and speed farmland is being converted to forestry, citing sales of more than 30,000ha in the...

Joint venture ‘green’ hydrogen project tipped as beginning of hydrogen industry in Taranaki

[31 May/Stuff NZ] A $50 million clean energy project using wind power to produce hydrogen fuel for the heavy transport sector is being touted as the beginning of the hydrogen industry in Taranaki. The joint venture between Ballance Agri-Nutrients, the country’s second largest producer of hydrogen, and Hiringa Energy was planned to produce “green” hydrogen...

Trees make rural mayors nervous

[31 May/Farmers Weekly] Wairoa Mayor Craig Little is nervous because in the last eight months 10,000ha which is 7 percent of his district’s remaining pasture land, has been sold for forestry. He also estimates it will cost 60 direct and indirect livestock farming jobs whilst only creating 15. Mayor Little’s primary concern is the impact...

Central government dropped the ball on protecting waterways – Environment Minister

[31 May/Stuff NZ] Environment Minister David Parker reported that local government bodies have failed to do enough to protect waterways and have not responded to this critical issue early enough. Hon. Parker spoke during the Trans-Tasman Business Circle’s annual post-budget lunch on his two key portfolios, the environment and economic development. The Government has committed...

Cow farts and kitty litter discussed at DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum in Whangārei

[27 May/The Country] A topic that kept repeating at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum in Whangārei last week was the need for highly fertile, high milkfat, low-farting dairy herds which will require a lot of science. Possible solutions given for reducing methane emissions of herds included genetically modified ryegrass pasture, feeding cows kitty litter and using...

New technologies will ‘not be enough’ to hit emission targets

[24 May/Stuff NZ] 200 dairy farmers gathered in Rotorua last week to hear the latest science around ways the industry can lower its emissions. The the DairyNZ Farmers Forum reported that there are no silver bullets to help the industry lower its emissions enough to hit the 47 percent target by 2050 outlined in the...

Time to stop unethical phosphate trade: North Otago farmer

[24 May/Stuff NZ] New Zealand farmers should put pressure on fertiliser co-operatives to act ethically and refuse to take any more phosphate from the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a North Otago farmer says. Dairy farmer Neil Hamilton said Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-nutrients, who each import about $30 million worth of phosphate a year, had...

Nats stunned by methane target

[21 May/Rural News] National’s Climate Change Spokesman Todd Muller reports that the proposed target for methane reduction puts the New Zealand agricultural sector at real risk. Mr Muller believes the targeted reductions are widely overdone and is not based on credible advice. He also reported methane reductions of this volume without the necessary on-farm innovations...

Farmers air frustrations over climate change blame

[17 May/Rural Life] The topic of climate change initiated an emotive response at the Southland Federated Farmers annual meeting, as many farmers showed concern surrounding the public’s view in farmers role in climate change. Federated Farmers Member Stuart Collie commented it viewed Parliament was encouraging the public to “attack” the farming and agricultural industries for...

A new nitrogen tool for farmers

[15 May/Farmers Weekly] Fonterra Co-operative Group is offering a nitrogen risk scorecard which helps to assess a farm’s risk of nitrogen loss. The scorecard, Overseer, uses data collected annually on six key farm practices and applies a set of benchmark parameters to get a level of risk to each. The scorecard considers stock management, nitrogen...

Supermarket chain will now let customers bring own containers for over-the-counter foods

[14 May/One News] Customers across the North Island will soon be able to use their own containers for over-the-counter butchery, seafood, delicatessen and bakery items at Foodstuff owned supermarkets in an effort to eliminate waste. The service will be made available for New World, Pak’n’Save and Four Square stores after a number of successful trials...

Hort wants big picture gas policy

[13 May/Farmers Weekly] Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman reports that the main issue from the horticulture sector consists of emissions from fertiliser use and limiting this is the only effective mechanism currently. Mr Chapman maintains any greenhouse gas policy needs to look at the wider picture of food security and research needs to...

‘Tell us how,’ farmers say

[10 May/Farmers Weekly] Farmers are confused by the Government’s approach to gas emissions, and want to know how they can achieve them without going broke. To blame an arable or any farming system for global warming is defying all science and biology, Mid Canterbury Cropping and Livestock Farmer Ian Mackenzie reports. Mr Mackenzie states that...

Methane target levels surprise

[10 May/Farmers Weekly] Victoria University Climate Change Expert Professor Dave Frame reports that farmers should not make much of the long-term methane reduction targets announced by the Government last week.  He is pleased the Zero Carbon Bill contains targets that differentiate between long and short-lived gases and that the targets will be subject to periodic...

California to ban pesticide it says hurts babies’ brains

[09 May/Otago Daily Times]  California has moved to ban controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos which is widely used to control a range of insects but is blamed for harming brain development in babies after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant. Some farmers are backlashing against the decision because they rely on the pesticide to fight pests...

Farmer trust in nitrate debate

[07 May/Farmers Weekly] A group of North Canterbury farmers aged 28-35 have started the Next Generation Farmers (NGF) Trust in response to regional council plan changes in Waimakariri, just north of Christchurch. The seven trustees are either farm owners or managers on dairy and drystock farmers. Under proposed plan changes some of the district’s dairy...