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Published: 2007-08-07 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is applauding progress towards having all dairy farmers introducing nutrient budgets by this year.

The dairy industry is committed to having 100 per cent of dairy farmers complete a nutrient budget by this year – the aims of the budgets include limiting the environmental impacts of fertilisers and stock effluent.
New figures announced today by dairy research organization Dexcel show 97 per cent of farmers had budgets as at June this year, compared to the 33 per cent at the end of 2005-06 recorded in a Fonterra report.
“This very significant progress is a big step towards ensuring the environmental sustainability of the hugely important dairy sector,” said Environment Waikato chairman Jenni Vernon.
“Farmers, fertiliser companies and others involved with the dairy sector are to be congratulated for the way the industry is moving swiftly towards the 100 per cent target.”
Cr Vernon acknowledged the challenge now was to apply the nutrient budgets in a way that helped protect the environment.
In 2006/07, Environment Waikato worked with Dexcel, Fonterra, Federated Farmers and effluent system suppliers on delivering hands-on workshops to help farmers manage effluent efficiently. Other Environment Waikato actions included publishing an updated guide to managing farm dairy effluent, holding nutrient management field days and contributing to the development  of the Overseer nutrient budgeting tool.
Current season support for the sector includes Environment Waikato contributing to a project looking at using maize to manage dairy shed effluent, delivering more effluent workshops, providing more information on nutrient management and developing effluent storage guidelines.
“Environment Waikato is committed to working very closely with the dairy sector to help ensure the industry thrives, whilst at the same time limiting its impact on the environment,” said Cr Vernon.