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

Quarantine on-farm?

DairyNZ says it has put a number of suggestions to the Government about how the sector could manage labour needs and health risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MIQ still a barrier

Dairy farmers can now apply to recruit much needed overseas farm assistants and herd managers.

Have your say on emissions pricing

OPINION: We’re kicking off 2022 with a road show across the regions in February so farmers can have their say on how agricultural emissions will be priced from 2025.

Planning key to combat higher costs

Strong financial management, grazing management and people management skills will help dairy farmers buffer rising input costs and produce milk more efficiently.


MIQ still a barrier

Dairy farmers can now apply to recruit much needed overseas farm assistants and herd managers.

Next step in governance

A partnership between Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) has led to the…

Kill the cull cows now

If you're thinking about whether you should cull a few cows, err on the side of caution by doing it…

Machinery & Products

Solution for rowdy cattle

Having walked away with a Fieldays Innovation Award and a useful cheque back in June, Springarm Products has recently signed…

Next generation swathers

Claas' latest generation of seven, dual-rotor central LINER swathers are said to offer numerous innovative features and functions to ensure…

Below ground fert server

Bavarian fertiliser spreader manufacturer Rauch is testing a prototype unit for depositing fertiliser in row crops to depths of 10…

Press screw separator

Probably best known for its chopping units that form an integral part of many manufacturers’ umbilical effluent spreading and injection…

Hydrogen power to cut emissions

While the automobile industry heads full tilt down the electrification route, heavier industries such as trucking and construction appear to…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Forrest moves into milk

OPINION: Australia's richest man Andrew Forrest has quietly bought a 6.6% stake in one of the country's biggest milk processors,…

The wait continues

OPINION: The wait continues for farmers and contractors looking forward to welcoming overseas workers in the coming weeks.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter