Waikato Regional Council has growing concerns about the effects of intensive land use on water quality in the region and these concerns are mirrored by river iwi.
In 2006, Waikato Regional Council identified that agricultural practices were contributing to rising nutrient levels within the region's waterways, and particularly within the Waikato hydro lakes. In response, they launched a three year intensive policy implementation pilot process, the Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) pilot project, within two of the region's sub-catchments (Little Waipa and Waipapa). The objective of the ICM pilot project was to gain an understanding of nutrient management in the farm setting and investigate the potential effectiveness of ICM approaches in achieving sustainable improvements in water quality.
Waikato Regional Council is seeking input from the primary sector on ways to reduce nutrient losses from farms in the Upper Waikato catchment. The ICM work to date has provided a large amount of information and learning around farm practice changes that increase nutrient efficiency, however, the work has very limited information around the financial implications of nutrient mitigation scenarios.
The current project, part of the wider ICM work for 2009-10, stems from a partnership between Waikato Regional Council, DairyNZ(external link), Ballance Agri-Nutrients(external link) (Ballance), and Fonterra(external link). The project aims to assess the current nutrient use efficiency of a selection of dairy farms and identify options for further efficiency gains and their associated costs to the farm business. This work aims to provide information that may aid target setting in the region and to ensure policy development occurs with sound science backing. In time this work may inform other industry initiatives and provide on-farm information for regional policy development.
Upper Waikato nutrient efficiency study
(1434 kb, 204 seconds to download, 56k modem)
You can also read the 'Upper Waikato nutrient efficiency study farmer follow up' technical report on this website, or order it online.