The Cost Of Dairy Expansion

NEW ZEALAND - Marlborough's dairy farms are slipping in their compliance with effluent management systems and the Marlborough District Council is in the position of having to decide how hard to enforce the regulations, writes The Marlborough Express in an editorial.
calendar icon 29 March 2007
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The role of agriculture has always been a pivotal one in the New Zealand economy. And the dairying sector is now the largest export earner for the country, with dairy products making up 18.1 percent of total exports, followed by meat and wood with 13.5 and 6.2 percent respectively according to the December 2006 external trade figures.

New Zealand is now the second largest exporter of dairy products in the world and conversions to dairying are continuing apace throughout the country, often in areas that have not been traditional milk-producing areas.

The expansion of dairying is not without cost, however, especially when it comes to the environment.

Intensive dairy farming raises issues of disposal of effluent, the prevention of runoff and other issues of land management of high use farmland.

There is also the hardy annual of fencing off waterways to prevent stock access.

The latest survey of dairy shed effluent systems from the Marlborough District Council shows Marlborough's dairy farms have slipped in their environmental performance.

While dairy farmers say they are still committed to cleaning up their dairy sheds, and say Marlborough figures still compare well with other dairy regions, we are a long way behind compliance targets.

It also appears that the degree of non-compliance is increasing.

Source: The marlborough Express

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