Thursday, 13 October 2016
The environment we are facing
Farmers today are grappling with how to adequately respond to a world of complex and often changing regulations. The risks our natural environment face have been recognised by central Government, and the introduction of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management (NPSFM) looks to ensure that freshwater quality is maintained or improved. This directive has led to the diverse and tailored responses from regional councils to manage their natural environments.
The Tukituki catchment plan is the Hawke's Bay Regional Council’s response to the NPSFM. Tukituki was the first cab off the rank because of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme - and there are more catchments to come.
Hawke's Bay’s approach is to focus on Good Management Practice (GMP), pushing for practical on-farm planning and solutions. The primary reason for this is that phosphorus is of more concern in the region, as well as sediment and E.coli. Nitrogen losses are still a focus however, and farmers will still need to supply Overseer nutrient budgets as part of their Farm Environmental Plan (FEMP).
There are approximately 750 sheep & beef farms and 50 dairy farms in the Tukituki River catchment that will need to produce FEMPs by 31 May 2018, and there is a clear desire for industry support. The appetite for knowledge was evident in the 30 farmers attending a recent field day held by Ravensdown Environmental for sheep and beef farmers in Waipawa. The field day focused on informing farmers of the rules and time-frames required by the council.
Ravensdown Environmental’s experienced farm consultants worked with Agri Managers to take customers through Smart Maps demonstrations, how Overseer is used to prepare a nutrient budget, and held a Q&A session with the council on the regional plan - all of which was received positively.
When it comes to farming and the environment the power is in the knowing. Not only what the rules are but what your farm system is capable of.
You don’t have to face the increased regulatory complexity and uncertainty alone. This is what our Environmental Consultants are qualified to do and have been doing across New Zealand for the past three years.