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18 March 2010
The Accord partners today released the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord
Snapshot Report for the 2008/09 dairy season, revealing that the management of
effluent discharge remains a significant challenge for dairy farmers.
While some progress was made toward achieving three of the Accord targets,
the number of farms where effluent discharge complied with resource consents and
regional plans, dropped to its lowest level yet.
MAF Director General Murray Sherwin says as the government agency charged
with managing the Accord, MAF will support the industry to improve effluence
compliance figures while targeting two additional key areas this coming year.
"The first is a need to verify the data gathered in the Accord," he says.
"Audits were completed by Fonterra in 2004 and 2006. This coming dairy
season, MAF will commission a further nationwide audit of data on behalf of the
"The second area of focus is nutrient management – supporting farmers to take
the next step from simply having a nutrient budget, which 99% of farms do, to
actively managing nutrient inputs and outputs.
"Effective nutrient management is a key part of "smart" farming. Excessive
nutrient use and loss indicates a breakdown in the efficiency of the system and
means nutrients are being wasted. No farmer wants to run his business via an
inefficient system as this is bad from both the environment and farmers' bottom
"A number of nutrient management tools already exist and MAF will continue to
work with industry partners to see these used more widely. One such tool is
Overseer, which is being continually refined and updated to reflect regional
"The partners have agreed to start collecting data on the uptake of nutrient
management systems for next season's snapshot.
"In addition, the Government, Fonterra, DairyNZ and fertiliser industries
have invested heavily in a three-year research programme to improve
understanding of the effectiveness and performance variations of nitrification
inhibitors across regions.
"The results of this research should provide us with another tool to support
effective on-farm nutrient management."
Mr Sherwin says MAF will continue to work with the industry to provide the
support needed to bring about the necessary change in farmer behaviour.
A summary of the results is available
A copy of the full report can be found
Deborah Gray | Senior Communications Advisor | MAF Policy
Phone: 64-4-894 0715 | Mobile: 029 894 0715 | Email: