Surface ponding water is the factor that has the most effect on cows' lying time - and hence animal welfare - in winter grazing paddocks, says DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley.
“We look forward to the certainty that the Zero Carbon Act, once introduced, will provide the dairy sector,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.
The Government last week launched nationwide public meetings to hear people’s views. Minister for Climate Change James Shaw says momentum is building for the Zero Carbon Bill.
“Communities, businesses, farmers, iwi and ordinary New Zealanders... are already doing what they can to reduce emissions or are ready to get on board and help draw up our plan to reduce NZ’s impact on the climate.”
Shaw will visit National Fieldays on Thursday to talk to farmers and encourage their feedback.
Consultation on the Bill runs for six weeks at 14 regional public meetings. Shaw is expected to attend most of the meetings.
Mackle says all sectors need to be aligned and accountable towards a common goal which will see NZ achieve a low carbon economy.
“The Ministry for the Environment [will] ensure farmers’ voices are heard in the consultation, and we want that to continue and be reflected in the final policy.”
DairyNZ will this month hold regional climate change workshops for dairy farmers, including government officials talking about the Zero Carbon Bill.
“Farmers will gain an understanding of the Zero Carbon Bill and leave the workshops knowing how their farm contributes to NZ’s greenhouse gas profile and how specific initiatives can improve their farm’s broader environmental footprint,” says Mackle.
“Our focus is mitigation and adaptation, but education is the first step [so that] every farmer understands how to run their farm in a way most suitable for their land and region.
“Planning for our future as an agricultural nation requires planning for a different climate while doing all we can to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions.
“Many farmers are already thinking and working in this way.
“Agricultural emissions are a challenge for the global food sector, and NZ is front-footing this opportunity to show the world it is possible to produce milk in an emissions-conscious way.
“This is our chance to set a global standard.”