Wednesday, 19 June 2024 10:38

Farmers learn about improving waterways

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Interactive resources cover the science behind riparian planting and what farmers can do to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife. Interactive resources cover the science behind riparian planting and what farmers can do to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife.

Dairy farmers picked up practical tools and actions to enhance farm waterways at DairyNZ’s Fieldays site this year.

The Healthy Waterways exhibit gave farmers a behind-the-scenes look at how healthy farm waterways support biodiversity and farm businesses, says DairyNZ GM farm solutions and policy Dr David Burger.

Interactive resources cover the science behind riparian planting and what farmers can do to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife – including native birds, eels (tuna), freshwater crayfish (kōura) and other species.

“Water is so valuable to all of us and plays a vital role in ensuring farmers can continue running profitable and sustainable businesses,” says Burger.

Dairy farmers have made significant progress over the past 20 years to support healthy waterways, and DairyNZ wants to support other farmers to get involved too.

“That’s why we have tested the best ways to enhance water health on-farm to ensure as a sector we continue to progress a positive future for New Zealand dairy farming.”

DairyNZ water quality specialists at Fieldays, shared technical knowledge and answered questions.

Farmers learnt more about the benefits of creating shade through riparian planting, which is one of the most effective on-farm actions to create healthy waterways.

Riparian planting helps reduce runoff of nitrogen and phosphate. It also reduces the amount of sediment reaching streams and creates a great habitat for our native species to thrive including fish and insects.

On DairyNZ’s Fieldays site, levy payers went into the draw to win one of two eDNA kits – a simple way to find out what’s living in a waterway and gain an indication of its overall health.

After taking a water sample in a farm stream, farmers can check their online eDNA report to see data on the health of the waterway, including the wildlife it is supporting – such as plants, insects, fish, seafood and birds.

“Getting a picture of what wildlife is thriving and which species need more support paints a reliable picture of how healthy a waterway is and helps motivate more work to continue improving water quality,” says Burger.

More like this

Revamped automatic calf feeder

JFC Agri, the family-owned manufacturer of agricultural products from Galway, Ireland, used Fieldays to launch its innovative Evolution range of automatic calf feeders, including the state-of-the-art Evolution S4 Automatic Unit.

Science showcase works well

What do you want from your pasture? That's the question top Massey University scientists were asking farmers at the 'Science for Farmers' site at Fieldays recently.

Woodchip bioreactors to treat nitrates win award

Developing woodchip denitrifying bioreactors for mitigating nitrogen loads to New Zealand waterways won DairyNZ and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) the research and science category in this year's Primary Industries NZ Summit Awards.


Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Calls for more support for vets, nurses

The animal health sector needs to change to keep up with the times, according to the discussion at a breakfast event hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim at the NZ Vet Association and NZ Veterinary Nursing Association conference in Christchurch recently.


Govt unveils climate strategy

The Government has launched its new Climate Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive and ambitious plan to reduce the…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fieldays focused

OPINION: Your old mate had a wee crack at Fieldays recently for the perception it was more focused on quantity…

'Woke madness'

OPINION: Real estate agent Janet Dickson's court case, following her refusal to complete a compulsory Māori culture course, is being watched…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter