Minister: ‘limit to further dairy intensification’

Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries has said there is a limit to further dairy intensification.

That limit may have already been reached as the environment, especially waterways, has not coped with the surge in cow numbers.

NZ Herald: NZ dairy expansion will hit limits as environmental impact grows, must chase value, Guy says

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says there is a limit to further dairy intensification in New Zealand and growing exports in the future will depend more on increasing the value of products rather than the volume.

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand has surged as farmers were lured by higher prices for dairy products while demand for sheep meat and wool waned.

That price lure has been wound back with the slump in dairy prices since 2013 (currently running at about two thirds of what they were at their peak).

The latest agricultural statistics for 2016 show New Zealand had 6.5 million dairy cattle, up from just 2.9 million four decades ago.

Dairy products are the country’s largest commodity export worth $11.3 billion in the year through February, and the government aims to double the value of primary sector exports to $64 billion by 2025 from $32 billion in 2012.

In the past two months, New Zealand’s worsening environmental record has come under the microscope of the OECD, Vivid Economics and the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser Peter Gluckman, adding weight to previous reports by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright.

Today, New Zealand published its first Fresh Water report under the Environmental Reporting Act which showed urban areas have the biggest problem with polluted freshwater, but rural areas are showing a faster-declining trend in the quality of fresh water in lakes, rivers and streams.

While efforts have been made to reduce dairy related pollution more has to be done, and it makes sense economically and environmentally to wind back cow numbers and aim to add more value to milk products, and aim for optimal herd numbers rather than just adding more and more.

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  1. Pete Kane

     /  28th April 2017

    Out of his depth – mind you nothing new there.

    Guy: Limit to how much dairy intensification NZ can handle
    “The Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, says there’s a limit to how much dairy intensification New Zealand can handle and the industry needs to concentrate on increasing the value of exports, not the volume. Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy, an active campaigner against dairy intensification, says it’s a shame it’s taken Mr Guy so long to realise the brakes need to be put on growth in the national herd.”

  2. Blazer

     /  28th April 2017

    typical Nat…states the obvious.

  3. So once again we are importing the US style of beating up the dairy industry by blaming it for solel responsibility for polluting out streams, lakes and rivers and demonising the productive sector that creates most of the wealth for the country-we would be in a parlous state if we did not have our agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture creating wealth. Our farmers are closer to the land and environment that most of the activists we see out parading and complaining about nitrogen polluting rivers which is voodoo science, look at how much nitrogen is in every bubble of air in a stream. When I see really polluted rivers most of the damage is done by plastics, tins ,bottles, overflow of human body wastes int the streams, and by tourists crapping their way around the formerly pristine bush and high country. Have alook at the Tongarof iro Crossing and see how much the tourist masses have contributed to the pollution and breakdown of the environment. Yes of course farmers have a part to play, but they ae part of the solution and not the only cause. They mutterings of Nathan Guy are lip service by National to look like they are concerned. What is needed first is a national plan to control our tourist industry so it is sustainable for the long term and a continuation of research into soil management plus continuation of the barriers around streams etc to prevent live stock entering them as well as planting native shrubs grasses etc to help filter any excess fertilisers. Farmers normally do not use excess amounts of fertilisers because of the cost.


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