Thursday, 18 February 2021 07:55

Editorial: Anxious times

Written by  Staff Reporters
DairyNZ has confirmed that a 15% stock reduction was not a recommendation of the Climate Change Commission. DairyNZ has confirmed that a 15% stock reduction was not a recommendation of the Climate Change Commission.

OPINION: The recent Climate Change Commission discussion document has made many farmers anxious.

Quite rightly, they are keen to know what’s in store for them and DairyNZ has been fielding calls from farmers.

The Climate Change Commission was formed alongside work to set the country’s climate targets (including biogenic methane targets). The establishment of the commission is legislated under the Zero Carbon Act 2019 and its main purpose is to provide evidence-based advice on climate issues.

Under the Act, the commission is required to deliver advice on setting emissions budgets across the entire economy to government. This advice has implications for all sectors of the economy, including farming.

The draft advice released by the commission also sent rumour mills into overdrive. One ‘recommendation’ bandied about is that the advice calls for a 15% reduction in cow numbers.

DairyNZ confirms that this isn’t a recommendation made by the commission – although they did model this as a possibility in the future.

What the commission has actually recommended is the Government introduce policies that will reduce barriers to conversion to lower emission land uses. If stock numbers were to reduce, this would not be a blanket rule across all farms and would be more likely to be driven by some farmers choosing to convert to other land uses like horticulture.

Land use change, for example, from dairy to horticulture on flatter and more productive land, could reduce biogenic emissions per hectare. However, it could also cause water quality to deteriorate due to the increased use of fertiliser, and consequential nitrogen and phosphorus losses.

Nutrient losses would vary depending on the crop, the site, weather conditions, the soils’ physical and chemical properties, and how the land is managed. Increasing the area of horticulture could also increase water demand. The commission says that in light of the physical impacts of climate change, this increased need for water would need to be weighed up when considering converting to horticulture as a climate action.

The report also talks about pushing harder to get solutions from science and technology something farmers have been pushing for too.

The commission has opened public consultation on this draft advice for six weeks, from 1st February to 14th March 2021. It will then consider any submissions on the draft advice and finalise advice to the Government by 30 June, 2021.

The commission says every New Zealander will need to play his or her role to help the country combat climate change.

Farmers are ready to play their part.

More like this

Have your say

DairyNZ says it will complete a submission on both the winter grazing and the freshwater farm plan consultations, providing firm feedback to Government.

Two-way battle

There's a two-way fight for one DairyNZ board seat as incumbent Jacqueline Rowarth takes on Waiuku farmer Stu Muir.

Strategy for Delta

The dairy industry, along with all primary sectors, are going to have to be very proactive and innovative over the next two to three years to deal with the uncertainties created by Covid-19.

Farmers at ease with borders

We're very understanding on what's being put in place. That's the feedback that DairyNZ has been getting from farmers just prior to a government requirement that all essential workers, including dairy farmers, crossing the border into Auckland region must get a weekly Covid test.

Good question!

A mate of the Hound's thinks it was more than a bit dodgy when DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel recently announced the director elections for the industry good body.


Machinery & Products

Effluent injection goes XL

Dutch effluent specialist Vredo is testing 15 and 18-metre wide slurry injection rigs for the upcoming 2022 spreading season.

Choosing the right pump

Choosing the right pump for an effluent system is the key to ensuring a system works well and gives many…

Spreading muck with ease

Palmerston North headquartered Strautmann Hopkins Ltd imports the extensive range of Strautmann Muck Spreaders for farmers and contractors, built by…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Bridge too far

OPINION: The Howl of a Protest was generally a success, well received by the public and, surprisingly, given evenhanded coverage…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter