Dairying gets a clean bill

MARY WITSEY
Last updated 09:32 17/01/2014
Isagani Pascual
MARY WITSEY/Fairfax NZ
Central Southland dairy farm manager Isagani Pascual at work in the dairy shed. Farmers are being given a pat on the back by Environment Southland, with compliance on the increase.

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Southland dairy farmers are doing their bit to help improve water quality in Southland with positive results reflected in recent monitoring.

Environment Southland's annual Environmental Compliance Monitoring Report shows full compliance from dairy farmers has increased.

Dairy water quality results also looked positive, with 87 per cent of samples receiving a good grade, indicating that the effluent discharge to land was having either no or minimal impact on surface water quality downstream.

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said the figures showed the majority of consent holders were working to comply with the conditions of their consent and that there was a mood for change in the province.

"I think we're actually moving in the right direction . . . on-farm co-operation is extremely pleasing and it is assisting with increased compliance.

"What dairy farmers face is that negative ‘dirty dairying' image, when most farmers are Southlanders who hunt and fish, and who want to keep the environment as clean as anyone else."

The newly established Southland Dairy Effluent Advisory Group has also helped the industry address issues rather than just looking at just the effect.

"We can approach this group with incidents we have found on farm, and then work with them and the farmer to find long-term fixes."

In the 2012-13 year there were 34 infringement notices issued, with just 17 of those targeting dairying and the remainder relating to industry, winter grazing and members of the public.

"Certainly more dairy farmers are compliant, but we'd like to see an even better result next year."

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- Invercargill Eye

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