Ban expected to have low impact in south

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013

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The ban on nitrate inhibitor dicyandiamid is not expected to have significant impacts on Southland farmers.

The ban was announced on Thursday after a product containing dicyandiamid (DCD), which is an active ingredient in eco-n and DcN, was recalled after traces of it were found in New Zealand milk.

The product is used by farmers to retain nitrogen in the soil, improve grass growth and lower their environmental footprint.

While the Ministry for Primary Industries said there were no food safety or health risks, the presence of DCD could pose a trade risk for local exporters.

AgKnowledge founder Dr Doug Edmeades said he did not think the environmental situation was going to worsen.

"This is not doom and gloom, it's really not a big deal.

"There's plenty more out there farmers can do," he said.

Farmers could look at other options to stop nitrate leaching into waterways such as controlling the number of urine patches of dairy cows. This could be done by using herd homes, feed pads and reducing the stocking rate, he said.

The uptake of dicyandiamid had also been minimal, the soil scientist said.

Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell said they had 500 customers who were using eco-n, and sales of the product accounted for about 1 per cent of the company's annual revenues.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said farmers could use a suite of tools instead of DCD to manage nitrogen loss and its effect on water quality.

Southland Demonstration Farm chairman Maurice Hardie said historically they had used the eco-n product, but needed to address all of the effects of the product. "There is nothing else that I am aware of that would do a similar thing."

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- The Southland Times

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