Kiwi dairy farmers could improve environmental management practices, review finds


The dairy farming industry's giving itself a pat on the back for progress in its environmental management practices but a review out this afternoon shows there's still a way to go.

In 2013, the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched, which set a range of voluntary targets.

Around 11,400 farms are covered by the Accord.

An annual progress report for June 2015 to May 2016, which is independently audited, shows 97.2 per cent of waterways have dairy cattle excluded. That's on track to meet this year's target of 100 per cent.

Where things aren't going so well - data around nutrient management was only collected from 83 per cent of farms - the target was 85 per cent by 2014.

As far as water use management goes, the review finds 49.8 per cent of farms have water meters. The aim is to reach 85 per cent by 2020.

Only 27 per cent of farms with waterways have a plan for planting around those waterways, supposed to reach 50 per cent by end of the review period.

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said farmers have made great strides since the Accord was launched in 2013.

"I acknowledge that there is still some work to do, but dairy farmers are making a positive difference," he said.

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