Marlborough dairy farmers have improved their compliance with the requirements of keeping stock out of waterways, according to a national programme, but there are still improvements to be made.
The final Dairying and Clean Streams Accord Snapshot, for the 2011-12 dairy season, showed progress nationally against all targets, the partners in the accord said.
In particular, an increase in compliance with effluent management rules could be seen, along with steady progress on excluding livestock from waterways, which was now very close to the 90 per cent target.
Progress was also made on other targets.
The average level of "significant non-compliance with regional council dairy effluent rules and consent conditions" in Marlborough decreased from 23 per cent in 2010-11 to 3 per cent in 2011-12, and nationally from 11 per cent to 10 per cent. The level of full compliance with regional council dairy effluent rules and consent conditions in Marlborough increased from 48 to 70 per cent, and from 69 to 73 per cent nationally.
The improvement is a combination of the requirements of the dairy industry's clean streams accord and more work by the Marlborough District Council with the 61 dairy farms in Marlborough.
The farms are reviewed each year, and a report to the council on last year's review showed 16 farms were non-compliant and another two were significantly non-compliant. There were still 10 stream crossings where stock were entering waterways, and only 70 per cent of Marlborough dairy effluent systems fully complied.
Councillors said at the time that while most farmers were making improvements, the council would have to consider enforcement action soon to get the remaining high-priority stream crossings eliminated as soon as possible.
The council has waived resource consent fees for new culverts and bridges till the end of this year to encourage dairy farmers to keep stock out of waterways.
Ministry of Primary Industries resource policy director Mike Jebson said the accord has played a key role in driving an improvement in farmers' environmental performance.
"One of the five targets was achieved and there has been progress towards achieving all the others. Working together on the accord has focused the efforts of the partners on what each one of them can do to help. But a number of challenges remain. For example, the report shows the management of effluent discharge remains a significant area for dairy farmers to work on." Fairfax NZ
- The Marlborough Express