Word of the day

November 1, 2019

Fluckadrift – excessive speed or urgency of movement or action; hurry or haste.


Thatcher thinks

November 1, 2019


Rural round-up

November 1, 2019

Why low morale in a good season? – Peter Burke:

Low morale and uncertainty in the dairy industry appear to be overshadowing the positive outlook for the sector.

The latest ANZ Agri Focus reports a huge range of positives for the sector, yet the bank’s agricultural economist, Susan Kilsby, says dairy farmer confidence is the lowest they have seen in more than 20 years.

The biggest thing impacting farmer confidence is the uncertainty about Government regulations on environmental legislation, she says.  . .

Good farmers must change too -Annette Scott:

Freshwater and climate will be the big drivers of change in balancing competing interests and farmers are not the bad ones in the equation, Ecologic Foundation chief executive Guy Salmon says.

The problem is not that farmers are bad, Salmon told the Agricultural and Horticultural Science Institute forum at Lincoln University.

“It is the institutes and incentives they face that are not the right ones.

“Yes, we need to find new ways of using land, water and greenhouse gas.

“My core argument here is farmers are grounded in this type of thing, they have always had values and bottom lines. They could be a model in the new way of NZ we are trying to form.” . .

Rules to add costs to councils – Neal Wallace:

Regional councils face higher costs, increased staffing needs and delays in implementing water plans because of the Government’s Essential Freshwater policy proposals, they warn.

While there is uncertainty about the effects until the proposed national policy statement freshwater standards are finalised, some councils say the new standard should be incorporated as plans are reviewed but others face long and involved processes.

Six regional councils approached said they face significant costs to plans and need more staff. . .

Carbon absorption on your farm :

New Zealand farmers can now estimate how much carbon their tree blocks are sequestering.

This follows a new addition to OverseerFM. The carbon stock tool in OverseerFM uses data from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Carbon Look-up Tables to estimate the carbon sequestration potential for existing and future tree blocks on a farm.

The new tool adds to OverseerFM’s existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis tool, which models the farm’s biological emissions (methane, nitrous oxide) and carbon dioxide as well asproduct footprint. . .

Cubbie Station tours Murray-Darling councillors through its controversial cotton holding to show there’s no water – Lydia Burton and Nathan Morris :

A controversial Queensland cotton producer has opened its gates to Murray-Darling Basin councils in an attempt to turnaround its poor reputation among drought-ravaged communities.

Cubbie Station — Australia’s largest cotton farm based in south-west Queensland — has come under pressure in recent years over its water use and impacts downstream.

Cubbie CEO Paul Brimblecombe said the tour allowed local government representatives from all Basin states to see the station and the drought for themselves.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to get out on the ground and put the full story in front of them,” he said. . .

Only a small % of what cattle eat is grain, 86% comes from materials humans don’t eat – Lauren Stine:

The plant-based industry wants you to believe that crops, like soy, corn, and barley, are mostly being fed to livestock, but according to the United Nations FAO, grain makes up only 13% of global livestock feed.

Only 13% of global animal feed (all animals for food, including chickens, pigs and cattle) is comprised of grain crops, according to United Nations FAO research, and only 32% of overall global grain production in 2010 was used to feed livestock.

A staggering 86% of global livestock feed consists of materials that we cannot digest as humans, like crop residues including stover and sugarcane tops. Pigs and chickens are also monogastrics (like humans) and cannot digest these products either. However, ruminant animals like cattle, sheep, and goats can safely consume these materials and turn them into nutrient-dense protein for humans.  . .


Local govt wants local flexibility

November 1, 2019

Local Government New Zealand submission on freshwater is asking the government to back away from a one-size-fits-all approach :

The submission, which was led by regional councils, strongly supports the outcome the Government is looking to achieve, the focus on freshwater ecosystem health, and regulation to manage contaminants.

However, the local government sector, which comprises all district, city, unitary and regional councils in New Zealand, is calling on Government to walk back from the proposed one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, and partner with local government to right-size the freshwater reforms.

One of our biggest concerns with the package is that it oversimplifies the problem with freshwater quality by assuming the issues are severe and urgent everywhere, and so we need regulatory intervention on a national scale,” said Chair of LGNZ Regional Sector Group, Doug Leeder.

“We absolutely acknowledge the challenges facing freshwater bodies, but the data shows that different waterways face different problems. That means we need tailored solutions to restore these ecosystems to a healthy state, not broad-brush regulation.” . . .

Councils must have the flexibility to work on different problems and solutions in different catchments.

The submission is supported by 13 case studies, which extensively examined the impact the proposed package would have on a variety of regions, from Northland to Southland.  These case studies underline that local context is everything when it comes to understanding impacts.

The submission is further supported by an independent economic analysis of the Government’s Regulatory Impact Assessment, and a distributional analysis to assess how the costs will affect different communities across New Zealand.

“One of the key things to get right as we develop freshwater regulation is to ensure we take communities with us, whether they are urban or rural,” said LGNZ President Dave Cull.

They need to have the confidence that the new rules will actually translate into measureable improvements on the ground, not just more red tape and reports that do nothing to deliver on what we all want to see – healthier waterways and greater environmental sustainability.”

The rural community has no confidence in the proposals.

If attendance at consultation is a reliable reflection of interest, urban communities are a lot less engaged in the process.

That’s unfortunate because they too would face huge costs if there are not major changes to what’s been proposed.

Unless the legislation takes a much more reasoned and science-based approach than the proposals, the government will not be able to take communities, rural or urban, with them.

LGNZ’s freshwater Q+A is here.

LGNZ’s submission and supporting material is here.

 


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