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Internet help for dairy farmers

Environment Waikato has launched internet information on its website to help dairy farmers meet Fonterra’s Clean Streams Accord requirements.

The new pages, specifically targeting dairy farmers, provide practical information on fencing, nutrient budgeting and effluent irrigation, as well as seasonal advice on issues such as paddock pugging. The aim is to help farmers with a variety of issues, providing researched advice and interactive calculation sheets for their own properties.

The newly signed Fonterra agreement outlines practical on-farm changes farmers can make to improve farming’s environmental performance, such as fencing streams and lakes, bridges and culverts over waterways, dairy shed effluent treatment and disposal and effective nutrient management.

Environment Waikato Coasts, Land and Wetlands Programme Manager Dr Peter Singleton said the Council wanted to help the dairy industry in improving its environmental performance and provide one place where farmers could find everything they might want to know on environmental issues.

“We gathered all the information and paid for research, then condensed it into farmer friendly information designed for the internet. We also know that navigating the internet can be a daunting prospect so we put everything in one place so farmers did not have to search the site for what they wanted.

“Dairy farmers are an important partner for Environment Waikato so we want to provide them with practical and easily understood information that they can put to use. The information on the pages can also be changed to suit the seasons, so that while we might have pugging and compaction information for winter this can be changed to something else in spring.”

Farmers can use interactive calculation sheets to work out their own farm effluent irrigation schedules and can also do simple nutrient budgets for their land on the site. They can also find out what activities they need a resource consent for, tree planting guides, information about disposing of agrichemicals and how to install culverts and fish passes.

He said Environment Waikato would like to hear from farmers about what they want from the site, using the website’s contact links.

“Perhaps it would be helpful to have a question and answer section with the most often asked questions we get from farmers, or there may be other ideas they would like expanded on.”

He said it was planned to have similar pages available for other sectors such as dry stock farmers, horticulturalists, urban dwellers, contractors and consultants.

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