Preservation of the environment is important to New Zealanders. Assisting farmers to mitigate the potential negative effects of some farming practices on the environment is a top priority for FAR.
Protecting our groundwater: Measuring and managing diffuse nutrient losses from cropping systems is a FAR-led programme for mixed arable and vegetable cropping systems. The research focuses on measuring diffuse nutrient losses from cropping systems and the mitigation of these losses through the adoption of industry agreed good management practices. This is a three year project which started in May 2018.
Ground Rules an environmental newsletter, produced by FAR to address specific issues around environmental compliance in different regions, as and when they arise.
NCheck - new tool for for Canterbury arable and horticulture farmers
N Check is an electronic tool which provides an alternative to OVERSEER® for estimating farm nitrogen losses. In January 2017 it was approved by Environment Canterbury for use in the consenting process by arable and horticulture farmers in the Selwyn Te Waihora catchment.
Farm Environment Plans
A unique Farm Environment Plan (FEP) template for arable farmers developed by Diana Mathers at FAR has been approved by Environment Canterbury under its proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. There are five aspects of farm management that need to be addressed in the development of any FEP, these include; soils, nutrients, irrigation, effluent management and point sources. The FEP template for arable farmers also includes biosecurity and aims to assist farmers to answer four key questions; what are my environmental risks? What am I currently doing to manage those risks? What could I do better? How do I prove that I have taken the appropriate steps to manage my risks positively? By using the template, farmers will be able to show that they are taking the appropriate steps for their individual situation as the process needs to be auditable.
Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1
FAR has worked closely with Federated Farmers to carry out case studies in the Waikato which include crop farms. These case studies have looked at the likely costs involved in implementing the proposed new rules with regard to things like Farm Environment Plans, Overseer(R) budgets etc, as well as costs associated with any actions required for mitigation. These case studies will be used to inform policy and discussion in relation to the Healthy Rivers Plan Change 1. See report below.
Report to Federated Farmers based on these case studies
An independent panel of experts set up to review the nutrient management planning tool OVERSEER® has made wide ranging recommendations for improvements to the way it deals with arable crops.
Good Management Practices
The Matrix of Good Management (MGM) aims to estimate the 'footprint' of nitrogen and phosphorus losses for Canterbury farm systems.