Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:06

Funding boost for key farm management tool

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Controversial farm management tool Overseer is getting $5 million state funding for an upgrade.

The funding was announced in the Budget delivered today by Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The Coalition Government and the primary sector will work together to boost the science behind the valuable Overseer farm management tool, say Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Environment Minister David Parker. 

“Overseer is a New Zealand tool used by a range of primary industries and regional councils that helps measure nutrient use and greenhouse gas emissions. Well-used, it can assist farmers to minimise waste and maximise profits,” says O’Connor.

“All farmers and growers want to keep their fertilisers on their paddocks and crops, and they want the best tools to manage their environmental responsibilities.

“That is why Budget 2018 includes an investment of $5.0 million of operating funding over the next four years to enhance Overseer,” says O’Connor.

Overseer predicts the amount of nitrate N leaching below the rooting depth of the pasture. Federated Farmers says Overseer has limitations and needs to be improved.

The extra funding for Overseer will enable:

  • quicker adoption of environmentally friendly farm practices 
  • the inclusion of a wider range of land types and farming systems 
  • a more user-friendly interface.

“The extra funding in Budget 2018 opens up opportunities for farmers to trial new technologies, techniques and tools that would otherwise be too risky or expensive to try,” says Parker.

“We need practical, science-backed tools to achieve this Government’s goals to improve land use, achieve a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050, and help clean up our rivers so our kids can swim in them without getting crook.”

The Ministry for Primary Industries, AgResearch and the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand each hold one-third stakes in the Overseer intellectual property.

 

More like this

Urgent Overseer review needed – Upton

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, has repeated his call for a full independent review of Overseer before any widespread adoption of it as a regulatory tool.

Catch crops crunch leaching — research

The key to using a catch crop to reduce onfarm nitrate leaching is to get it in the ground as soon as possible after winter feeding, says Plant and Food scientist Dr Brendon Malcolm.

Overseer is no silver bullet!

The Government is being called on to offer official guidance on how regional councils should use the nutrient measurement tool Overseer.

 
 

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