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Canterbury Dairy Farmer Practices Improve

Dairy Farmers of New Zealand is pleased with the increased numbers of Canterbury dairy farmers that have complied with their dairy shed effluent discharge consents.

Environment Canterbury’s report on the status of Canterbury’s dairy shed effluent discharges shows a significant increase in the level of compliance. However further improvement is required with respect to some dairy shed discharges and with respect to the methodology by which ECan measures compliance, especially with respect to ponding and pond selling.

While some instances of non-compliance were unacceptable the vast majority was minor in nature. Only 1.5% of situations warranted an Infringement Notice (the equivalent of a speeding ticket) and no farmers’ practices warranted prosecution (the equivalent of a dangerous driving charge).

Dairy Farmers of NZ is very pleased that Environment Canterbury plans to provide incentives to farmers judged to have “top farms” in terms of their effluent management systems. It is planned to visit these farms less frequently and therefore reduce their monitoring costs.

Environment Canterbury’s intention to continue with its educational role, informing farmers of what is required, is also strongly supported. The series of field days held throughout Canterbury last year were helpful and informative to those that attended. One of the difficulties in the past has been a lack of knowledge by farmers of new technical requirements introduced by Environment Canterbury such as the requirement that farmers be able demonstrate that their effluent holding ponds are sealed.

Dairy Farmers on NZ supports good environmental practices and will not defend farmers who put the environment at risk. We will continue to work with Environment Canterbury to find the best ways of managing of dairy shed effluent.

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