We can’t have it both ways

New Zealand’s argument to counter the food miles fallacy is that we convert grass to protein in the most efficient way possible.

Our soils and climate which enable us to grow good pasture and leave stock outside all year rounds give us a natural advantage over farmers in other countries where pastoral farming isn’t possible.

It’s less expensive and has less impact on the environment to let animals graze pastures than to harvest feed and take it to the stock.

Why then would anyone want to copy the more expensive methods farmers in other countries have to use by putting cows inside, if only for part of the year?

No doubt the people applying for resource consent for stabling dairy cattle for eight months of the year have done their sums and are confident the business case is sound.

The environmental impacts will be addressed through the resource consent process and any animal welfare issues will have to be settled before the projects can proceed.

But I’m concerned about the impact this will have on our credibility.

Either we make the most of our natural advantage and use that to promote our pasture raised produce or we start copying less efficient producers overseas.

We can’t have it both ways.

8 Responses to We can’t have it both ways

  1. gravedodger says:

    As a farmer (that description is open to debate) for many more years than I care to remember, I would say that all the monuments to stupidity that have been erected to house cattle in particular, are all lying empty, have been converted to another use or demolished and the only economic gain they generated would have been the tax writeoffs they generated.
    Lotto would have been a better ‘investment’. You are right H P our soils, climate and sheer space allow wintering livestock in most localities and housing is a nonsense. One could make a case for the consent process to stop it but the old adage ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’ must be allowed to happen. I have a little sympathy for parties who feel obliged to submit against the consent but they should be patient and avoid joining the adherents in the adage above.

  2. Andrei says:

    But I’m concerned about the impact this will have on our credibility.

    For goodness sake Ele a great deal of European dairying is done this way.

    The average joe cares about price and quality – value for money.

  3. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – I know most European dairying is done that way – and we’ve used that to give us a marketing advantage because we don’t have to.

  4. […] clean image – Greens Bright Wings – Proposed dairy factory farming raises alarm HomePaddock – We can’t have it both ways Foodweek – Greens oppose ‘factory […]

  5. pmofnz says:

    Factory farming screams wrong, wrong, wrong. If there was ever a way to wreck our credibility as a supplier of quality farm produce this would be it. My view is if a dairy farming operation cannot be sustained without extras like extended housing or bulk imported feeds, then the operation requires change. You can’t tell me that all those large scale dairy farms in Southland have such housing or rely on imports. Same goes for those factory operations chasing water rights on the Canterbury Plains.

    The line between large scale and factory farming is one we should never cross.

  6. Andrei says:

    Factory farming screams wrong, wrong, wrong. screams Ned Ludd. “If there ever was a way to wreck our credibility as a supplier of quality cloth weaving by steam would be the way to do it.”

  7. pmofnz says:

    Andrei, Uncle Ned is spot on with ‘They tread on our future and they stamp on our dreams’. Machinations such as factory farming should not be part of New Zealand agriculture. If we turn our farms into mirrors of Oz broad-acre or Yank grain fed operations, we lose any competitive advantage currently held through our clean image. The risks associated with opening the proposed areas to factory farming appear to be extreme. May the Luddites win on this one.

  8. Aaron M. says:

    As a Yank who lives in the shadow of factory-style dairies, I have all but ceased consuming dairy products due to the waning quality.

    I applaud your the efforts of those in NZ that are fighting for the superior quality of grass-fed dairies.

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