Environment Canterbury has recieved more than 3000 submissions on the application for intensive dairy operations in the Mackenzie Basin.
Richard Peacock, a director for two of the companies applying for resource consent for intensive dairying operations in the Mackenzie Baisn has responded to my post on the issue.
Since the post is a few days old and his comment may be missed, I have copied it in full:
Fonterra utilise this farming system in China and believe it to be appropriate there, 75% of dairy farmers in Europe and USA utilise this farming system. If it is environmentally sustainable in these countries why not in that part of NZ that most closely replicates these continental climates. Having travelled widely I encounter reference only to sheep when NZ is mentioned. There is total surprise when it is advised that NZ is one of the largest exporters of dairy products in the world. This farming model works. It reduces feed requirement (30% less in winter). There is total control of effluent discharge. Wet ground, no grass growth, no spreading of effluent on ground. No urine patching (the biggest cause of nitrate leaching, methane can be collected economically and re-utilised on farm to drive plant, equipment (tractors and trucks, surplus power can be fed into the National grid, research is being undertaken to collect CO2 and Nitrous Oxide in the barns, scrub it and store it in the effluent management system. Self sustainability in emissions is potentially achievable and this system should be encouraged. The financial model works at $4.50 per kg of milk solids as cows can be milked during winter to capitalise on winter milk premium, production is 25-30% higher due to less energy expended walking to and fro and the capital cost of the stables are paid for largely by not having to send cows off farm during the 10 week winter period ($300-350 per cow including freight).
The Greens have focused on negative by attacking this farming system as a way to get some oxygen (albeit that it answers all their environmental concerns), people are encouraged to think that free stall stables similar to pigs in crates (nonsense), 3000 submissions have been lodged against the applications on the back of the Greens generated hysteria but Environment Canterbury advise that of those who have submitted only 130 have bothered to view the applicants submissions to understand just what is proposed. I know these things because I am the project director for Southdown Holdings Ltd and Williamson Holdings Ltd, 2 of the applicants.
I encourage all those with genuine interest to view the ECan website and in particular the Farm Environmental Management Plans of SHL, WHL and 5 Rivers prepared by Melissa Robson of GHD. Informed submissions in support are welcome.