Environment and emissions

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...

Farm emissions to be cut in half

[06 May/Farmers Weekly] New greenhouse gas reduction targets are expected to be announced by the government next week and it is expected farmers will have to cut methane and nitrous oxide emissions in half over the next 30 years. It is understood livestock farmers will have to reduce nitrous oxide emissions to zero by 2050...

Careful consideration needed before tree-planting – Rabobank

[06 May/The Country] RaboResearch sustainability analyst Blake Holgate reports that farmers need to consider a range of factors before deciding whether planting trees is a better use for their land or in its existing use. Government policy changes in forestry and climate change would make forestry a more appealing land-use option for some landowners however...

Report into Southland climate change predicts more extreme weather, warmer temperatures and higher river levels

[02 May/Stuff NZ] Southland’s weather is going to get hotter, wetter and more extreme as climate change effects the region. The predicted changes could eventually change the way the country farms in the province and what is produced, and councils will have to plan for increased weather extremes. The Southland Climate Change Impact Assessment was...

Farm buyers cautioned over pollution limits cutting into profits

[30 April/Stuff NZ] Farm buyers are being warned to research after a purchaser found nutrient caps on his property reduced potential returns by $1 million. This figure is based on an estimated value of the property, a calculation of production potential and subsequent returns over a period of time. The farmer did not buy a...

Gas compromise won’t be enough

[12 April/Farmers Weekly] Interim Climate Change Committee Chair David Prentice reports that livestock farmers may face an initial greenhouse gas emissions tax of $50 million a year rising to $1 billion. These figures were given in a discussion document delivered to the Agricultural Climate Change Conference given by Mr Prentice which also reveals the committee’s...

Fish & Game: ‘Complete failure’ to protect environment by regional councils

[30 April/The Country] Fish & Game has started that the Environment Aotearoa 2019 report has revealed how regional councils have failed completely in their legal obligation to protect the environment. The report confirmed that water quality was poor, and getting worse in most parts of the country, according to CEO of Fish and Game Martin...

Kaikōura farmer’s standoff over Emissions Trading Scheme fines for cleared pines

[28 April/Stuff NZ] Harold Inch states that he was caught unaware when he was fined $85,000 for chopping down trees subject to the Emissions Trading Scheme. Around five years ago Mr Inch purchased the farm near Kaikōura and cut down around half the trees on his property, intending to let the land return to native...

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...