Advertising Standards Authority rules in favour of Greenpeace ad on river quality

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 pm, January 8th, 2017 - 163 comments
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The advertisement in question,

 

Press release from Greenpeace,

Thumbs up for controversial Greenpeace TV ad

Press release – January 8, 2017
The Dairy Industry has failed in its attempts to shut down a hard-hitting TV ad by Greenpeace.

An advertising watchdog has ruled the campaign by New Zealand’s largest environmental organisation, truthful and not misleading.

Using kiwi kids splashing about in a clear stream, the ad points out that 60 per cent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are now unfit to swim in.

“The Government is allowing our precious rivers to be destroyed,” says the advertisement. “Precious water supplies are being polluted by industrial dairy farming and massive irrigation schemes.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received a total of 12 complaints about the ad, including one from Dairy NZ.

In a ruling (due to be released tomorrow) the Advertising Standards Authority has rejected each one of them.

“We’re not surprised by this decision,” says Greenpeace’s sustainable agriculture campaigner Genevieve Toop.  “It’s simple. The more dairy cows there are, the more polluted our rivers and streams become.”

The ASA accepted Greenpeace’s position that “the impact of industrial dairy farming on water quality is widely documented.”

“This is the message that the dairy industry has tried, and failed, to stop the public from hearing,” says Toop.

Attempts by the industrial dairying lobby to get the video banned actually had the opposite effect. It became known as “the ad they didn’t want you to see”.

Following Dairy NZ’s complaint, more than a quarter of a million New Zealanders went online and viewed it on Greenpeace’s facebook page.

The complaint laid by Dairy NZ claimed statements and images in the ad were “false and misleading”.  

These claims were thrown out.

The ASA’s complaints board agreed that the statements made in the advertisement “would not come as a surprise to most New Zealanders.”

Toop adds: “We would encourage Dairy NZ to concentrate its resources into addressing the very real problems of river degradation, rather than trying to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.” 

Greenpeace provided the ASA with a 13 page file of scientific evidence pointing to nitrate and pathogen pollution of our waterways as a result of industrial dairying.

Toop says the government’s own figures show 62 per cent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are already unsafe for swimming. 

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has repeatedly drawn a clear link between industrial dairying and water pollution.

“Industrial Dairying is being confronted with its own truth, and doesn’t like it,” says Toop.

“The  decision by the ASA confirms that we have a major problem. Our ever-expanding dairy industry is  polluting our waterways with sediment, pathogens and nitrates.”

Toop says Greenpeace will continue to engage the public in the fight to stop the construction of big irrigation schemes. These would drain water from iconic rivers and lakes, using it to create even more industrial dairy farms.

“Their failed complaint has only served to strengthen our resolve.”

163 comments on “Advertising Standards Authority rules in favour of Greenpeace ad on river quality”

  1. Marple 1

    Yes but dairy doesn’t cause all the pollution it’s BIRDS according to Nick Smith…

  2. Andrea 2

    And town-based industries using gutters and creeks to avoid proper management of waste products.

    And pulp and paper. That one’s a real ecosystem destroyer.

    And the lack of proper, established, and free disposal sites for taking paint and other chemicals for making them safe/harmless instead of people using the laundry sink or the kerbside gutter for disposal.

    And the biggie – sewage treatment. Just how many shellfish beds and spawning sites have we wrecked with bog paper and other delights?

    ‘We have the technology…’ and arms that are too short to reach our pockets; and brains too narrow to make the connections.

    ‘Twas ever thus…

    • adam 2.1

      Oh look the trolling has begun.

      Not. Hey look Greenpeace got somthing spot on, nope – out with the trolling.

      • Clump_AKA Sam 2.1.1

        Id like to see the greens overlay some numbers. A billion wasted here, track down stream with another billion overlayed figure. Pan left to another billion in wasted productivity ect. Every time I bring it up with them they say nah or go quite. Its my pet hate they don’t price externalities because we ignore those transactions that need paying

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          The problems are that

          1. There are no accepted accounting standards for doing it.
          2. The costs of doing estimating it for a smallish organisation like Greenpeace are very high.
          3. It is a job for the government as it is for the common good.

          Without these things, the argument will deteriorate into idiot trolls on various media (think of what Mike Hoskings response would be) disputing the estimating process. This is what happens when regional authorities even try to do it.

          The government, local and National, aren’t willing to do it because of the bad publicity about their shit job.

          This trolling in the media is what you see whenever anyone tries to account for the costs to the public for anything to do with the commons.

          See the general discussion on wikipedia.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

          In my opinion, your suggestion belongs in the waste basket – unless you can get legislation passes enforcing anyone responsible for commons to enforce an accounting standard on people using the commons.

          A simpler approach is to simply tax any use of the commons with charges and require individuals and companies to measure their impact or face high minimum charges.

          • Ad 2.1.1.1.1

            A really, really good regional council should be able to publish water quality standards, and they should then be able to be put out to every media channel across all regions.

            This is what District Health Boards have to do for a range of core measures, such as immunisation, cancer treatment, non-urgent surgery, emergency waiting times etc etc.

            But, as you imply, that would take a government that gave a damn about the environment and was prepared to really enforce and expose freshwater common accountability measures nationwide. Which this government will never do. They can do it with fish, but not with water.

          • Clump_AKA Sam 2.1.1.1.2

            You belong in the bin old man. I don’t want to know about a persons folk science. Which is not do I talk about Shock jocks or the meaning of life and so on. If you ask people how does the world really work, that’s a problem of ethnoscience and you go to a community and figure out there idea of how the world works. That’s a hard science because you have to work, by work I mean talk to people like us and not people in the common room, if they worked on people like us they will find no entities that are simultaneously abstract and concrete and does not include entities about the meaning of neoliberalism, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about them because we talk about them all the time. I for one don’t think about them as constituents of how the world operates.

            There are different enterprise you have to distinguish, you tried to start with folk science and every one has a common picture of the way the world works. If you do that reflectively and carefully to bring in other criteria and cognitive faculty, which I don’t know for sure, then it becomes the object of science which is a different enterprise which isn’t folk science that work in other ways. Your comment has to do with our folk science which discard the concept of common sense very quickly so my original comment to bin it is correct.

            • BM 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Less drugs, bud.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.2.2

              You don’t like Lprent’s simpler approach then? It’s quite hard to tell.

              • Clump_AKA Sam

                Let’s not scratch our eyeballs out about that because they are all different concepts. From the 2008 movie the day the earth stood still John Cleese’s character once said and I paraphrase ” it’s only at the precipice do we change, at the precipice, we have to use New Zealand to convince them to save there own children

    • mauī 2.2

      Hard to put a number on it but farmers are affecting in the order of 99% of land and catchment area, townies 1%. Also generally speaking there’s been a gradual improvement of town wastewater treatment over decades. Rural water standards however are in rapid decline.

    • KJT 2.3

      More bullshit.

      Town based industries are prosecuted if they get a litre of paint in the drains.

    • Whispering Kate 2.4

      Yes Andrea and Alkaline batteries are still put out in the kerbside waste- and are not broken down and recycled. Many years ago a friend of mine was an agent for passenger ships and the management of the vessels were amazed we did not recycle alkaline batteries – this friend was asked if he could take a collection ashore which had been discarded by tourists on board. He did take them ashore but the ships’ personnel automatically thought they would be recycled. That was at least 25 years ago.

  3. McFlock 3

    Nice.

    Reminds me of the mclibel trial. Goddamn reality getting in the way ofcommercial interests…

  4. Ad 4

    On SH1 going through Hamilton there is also a big billboard advertising against cruelty to bobby calves. That’s pretty in your face for dairy country. Made me think there’s a future for advertising after all.

    • mosa 4.1

      That billboard ( calf cruelty) should be countrywide and updated on a regular basis !!!!

  5. saveNZ 6

    Yay! Good call on the ASA.

    Lets hope it’s the catalyst to spark real clean up of our waterways.

  6. Ad 7

    I used to try and have sympathy for Fonterra, but I’ve just given up.

    It would be a lot more fun if we had a government that launched big campaigns against Fonterra and the water waste of the dairy industry.
    Imagine a government that took them to task like that.

    I would seriously love to see a Green Party in a government, just so that Fonterra finally understood the high standards that their consumers really expect from their products.

    • KJT 7.1

      Fonterra require their suppliers to meet standards, for waterway fencing and sewage disposal.

      They are not necessarily the bad guys.

      There are still dairy farmers that care for the land. Mostly not highly indebted, high input, industrial style dairy, though.

      However dairy on unsuitable land, and overstocking, as the, overwhelming evidence shows, are now the major contributors to water pollution in New Zealand.

      Non-swimmable rivers are unacceptable to many, if not most, New Zealanders, including farming families.

      Green party policy is not to destroy farmers, but to help them into higher value more sustainable farming. Reducing stock numbers can be make for better long term success of a farm, for example. Reducing expensive fertiliser loss to the water table is good for both the environment, and farmers bottom line.

      I think Greenpeace have to give some answers, as well as highlighting the problems

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Fonterra and the others are the problem – farmers will supply to the standards that they are set.

        • KJT 7.1.1.1

          https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/sustainability+platform/sustainable+dairying/new+zealand/new+zealand

          “Effluent Management
          Every dairy farm is required to have effluent systems and management practices capable of 365-day compliance with regional council regulations. Farms are assessed each year during the annual Farm Dairy and Environmental Assessment to ensure they meet these standards. If required, Environmental Improvement Plans are agreed with farmers to ensure resolution of the issues identified and to future-proof systems as appropriate.

          Nitrogen Management
          Our Nitrogen Management Programme targets nutrient use efficiency, helping to further reduce the impact of dairying on the environment. Detailed farm data collected and provided by our farmers is used to produce farm reports showing modelled nitrogen conversion efficiency and nitrogen loss risk. These reports detail nitrogen leaching risk, nitrogen conversion efficiency and let farmers compare their performance to other farms in the region.

          Waterway Management
          The Supply Fonterra Waterway Management Programme helps reduce the impact that our farms have on surface water quality. This includes standards for stock exclusion from defined waterways and stock crossings. The programme also helps farmers to identify and manage other on-farm risk areas that could contribute to a decline in water quality. The target is to achieve 100% stock exclusion from Fonterra defined waterways and to have all regular stock crossings bridged or culverted. A Fonterra defined waterway is a river, stream, drain, canal, lake or wetland that permanently contains water and is more than”

          • RuralGuy 7.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for posting the Fonterra standards.

            Anybody even remotely familiar with the dairy industry can recognise that Fonterras own internal supply standards eclipse any regional or national standards set via government. Fonterra aren’t the bad guys here.

            They have one of the most world class Sustainable Dairying teams that act as one on one consultants to support farmers thru change. Fonterra went out and cherry picked the best and brightest in the sustainable agriculture field and have funded this team and have given them complete discretion on how they operate. If you think back to the fencing of waterways requirements – Fonterra got their farmers across the line some years ago on the back of this teams efforts. In the meantime the other sectors and dairy companies haven’t got themselves sorted. As an aside, the Nitrogen management program these guys have established that is mentioned in KJT’s post is truely world class.

            Now farmers also have to buy in, and the bulk do. But it’s telling the number of farmers that leave Fonterra to supply other smaller companies in order to get around environmental compliance. Where Fonterra has invested 10’s of millions, the Chinese dairy companies and the Talley’s owned dairy companies invest nothing and consider environmental support a regional council prerogative and do enforce any standards.

            The dairy industry isn’t going to disappear, and we need it to be prosperous. It’s our largest export industry (which makes it our largest money import industry). I’d suggest you actually spend some time contemplating who and where ther actual bottom feeders are and how in the industry is actually investing in improvements.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Are Fonterra enforcing their standards?

              • RuralGuy

                Absolutely they do. The inspections they are conduct are more frequent, robust and stringently enforced then anything that the Regional Council has every done.

                I understand you’re suspicion and inherent bias that “big = bad”. Inside the dairy industry it’s the other way around. It’s not the large farmer owned cooperative that are the laggards, it’s the small players who leave the setting of standards and enforcement up to the councils.

                You should be asking what do OCD (Talleys), Synlait, Green Valley, Westland, Oceania & Miraka do and why aren’t they expected to operate at the same standards as Fonterra.

            • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.1.2

              RuralGuy
              W townies never asked the government to srop all our tariffs on imported goods, thus closing down most of our industry which couldn’t compete against rock bottom prices from overseas, so as to shout from the rooftops that we should be allowed to get favourable export markets, mostly dairy exports, to those countries in return.

              I suggest you try contemplating why you now are the biggest export earner in the country to the detriment of a stable economy with work for all of us in employment rich enterprises, and find the path through the maze that leads to no or low income jobs for huge numbers of young people, and high how prices that only overseas buyers can pay.

          • Ad 7.1.1.1.2

            Thanks KJT I appreciate the passages there.

            I have generally given up on Fonterra mostly because they have made too many catastrophic mistakes (like botulism scare), too many dumb decisions (like coal fired dryers), too many cack handed market decisions (like continuing too long with low value-added products, or simply copying Lewis Road), and taking too long to really enforce their streams accord. That probably seems a little unfair, but it all just accumulates.

            I really wanted to be proud of them, but it just got too hard.

        • KJT 7.1.1.2

          Maybe if Government and councils actually enforced their own regulations.?

          National. As usual. “If the law is being broken, change it”.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.2.1

            “If the law is being broken by one of us or our patrons, change it”. FIFY 🙂

  7. Gabby 8

    Who were the other 11 complainers?

  8. Jenny Kirk 9

    Great stuff – from Greenpeace ! as far as the north is concerned, dairying is a real problem in polluting/contaminating rivers and streams up here – so I was pleased to hear that Greenpeace had scored a victory over the farmers.

    And for all those trolls who don’t believe it, just have a scan thru stories and photos in the Northern Advocate over recent months ….. contamination by dairying IS a real problem up here. Goodness, we even had a dead cow in the local Hatea River just recently.

    • weka 9.1

      I think we’d be hard pressed to find anywhere in NZ outside of a National Park and the cities that hasn’t been adversely affected now 🙁

      Sorry to be picky, but can we frame this as a victory over Dairy NZ, or industrial dairying, rather than farmers in general? Plenty of good farmers out there who needn’t be included in the people who are wrecking the land (except to the extent they let Fed Farmers run rampant over everything I guess).

      • KJT 9.1.1

        Fed farmers members are not even a majority of farmers.

        And, I agree vilifying farmers as a group, just gets their backs up and is counterproductive.

        Plenty of farmers I know, make long term sustainability of the land, and their buisiness a priority.

        I also know others who treat their stock, their staff, and the environment like cowshit. Get rich quick investors in farming capital gains. mostly.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          “Fed farmers members are not even a majority of farmers.”

          I was thinking about that yesterday. I remember Jeanette Fitzsimmons saying this many years ago (as a farmer). It would be enlightening to compare membership numbers with numbers of farmers.

  9. Sacha 10

    One lesson is that not over-egging your public claims protects activists from regulatory or legal backlash. Onya, Greenpeace.

    • weka 10.1

      the thing that surprises me is that the ad doesn’t really say anything much other than a general pointing to the fact that dairying has damaged the waterways. It’s not like they went hard out after anyone in particular.

  10. grumpystilskin 11

    I just spent a day driving around the Waikato, specifically north of Raglan. (the limestone trail?) Didn’t see one stream roped off while dairy herds were wandering all over the wetlands. Was a shame. Mind you, the friendly farmers all waved as I drove by..

    • RuralGuy 11.1

      Hi,

      I think you’ll find that north of Raglan is dry stock and beef country. Most of this area is LUC 6, 7 & 8. This actually highlights a couple of things;

      How in a single generation New Zealanders can’t distinguish farming enterprise differences, or distinguish a beef animal from a dairy animal,

      and

      That the beef industry haven’t set a single standards for waterways stock exclusion, yet as they kind of get to fly under the radar as they are the poor cousins of the farming world.

      • red-blooded 11.1.1

        Simple answer – stop using cows and other animals to produce food. The fact is that it’s always going to be dirty, cruel and an inefficient use of water, land and other resources. We don’t need to do it – we choose to.

        All of you who eat meat and use dairy products are part of the problem. You can publish, tax, and try to mitigate, but it’s all containment. I know I’m not going convince (m)any of you, but I’m saying it anyway. You can choose to stop participating by choosing to stop creating the demand.

        It’s all very well getting upset when you see bobby calves being thrown about like sacks of potatoes and effluent running in our waterways, but if you’re one of the people who creates the demand then you’re part of the problem.

        I’m realistic enough to know that the world isn’t going to go vegan because I choose to be, and I do support the ideas of taxing polluters and reinforcing standards, but I don’t think it hurts to point out that you all have a personal choice, as well.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          There’s nothing wrong with eating meat/dairy if it’s raised ethically and sustainably. I’ll take my locally raised mutton over imported monsanto GMO corn any day of the week.

          NZ’s problem isn’t growing food. It’s that it is growing cash crops for export. If we were growing food locally and sustainably, instead of misusing the land to make money, we wouldn’t have a problem with river pollution. Replacing dairy farms with conventional soy cropping will mitigate some of the more obvious issues, but it’s still very hard on the environment.

          • red-blooded 11.1.1.1.1

            Well, your definition of “ethical(ly)” obviously differs from mine, weka. I don’t regard killing calves and taking their mother’s milk as ethical. We can agree to disagree on that – it doesn’t hurt to look past the surface of a problem sometimes, though, and confront it from another angle.

            • weka 11.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s possible to raise dairy animals and not kill the calves. You share the milk between the offspring and the people who want to drink milk. This is why I’m drawing a distinction between farming to produce food and farming to make money. If you want to make more money then you treat animals as stock units and kill the ones you don’t want/need. But it’s not inherent in producing milk.

              I agree that looking at different angles is good, and much of the ethical criticisms aimed at conventional farming are valid and important (ethics for me includes ecosystem wellbeing as well as animal welfare).

              • red-blooded

                Weka, if we humans continue to demand animal produce, then it will continue to be supplied through the “stock unit” approach. Land and water will be seen as part of the cash equation – open to exploitation to maximise profit, and so will the animals.

                You like to eat “mutton” – I don’t like to eat the flesh of dead sheep. Inherent in that is both a respect for what I see as the rights of other animals and a wish to protect the environment.

                Good on you for wanting to improve the ways animals are treated and the impact of intensive farming on our land and water. I do respect that attitude – it’s a hell of a lot better than many people’s. For me, though, the fundamental issue remains the same. I don’t agree with exploiting and killing other animals for food, and I choose not to be part of that process.

                • weka

                  Thanks, that’s clear where we agree and disagree on animal ethics 🙂

                  “if we humans continue to demand animal produce, then it will continue to be supplied through the “stock unit” approach. Land and water will be seen as part of the cash equation – open to exploitation to maximise profit, and so will the animals.”

                  There is an argument to be made that individuals who advocate choosing to not eat animal products for ethical reasons end up handing the welfare of animals to unethical people. I have no problem with you or anyone choosing not to eat meat (or dairy) because of your personal ethics around killing or using animals (I was an ethical vegetarian for a long time). For me, making a conscious choice to source my meat and diary from places that don’t treat animals as stock units or the land as a mine, increases the practice of ethical farming and give us a better chance of shifting from industrial farming. If those ethical farmers don’t get support from people like me they will go out of business and all we will have left is agribusiness. So from my perspective what I do is a highly ethical intentional act.

                  I also fully support the ethical/sustainable growing of vegetable/grain/legume crops, but we’ve not made as much advance on that in NZ.

                • adam

                  red-blooded, interesting debates around what you are saying are happening in the Catholic and other Churches at the moment. It’s calling for a revision of how we view ‘Genesis’ and our attitude to life on earth. And in particular, our relationship with animals. None of my links are working at the moment I’ll fire off another email to a mate and get the information again.

                  As per this win by green peace, I’m of the opinion if anything improves the lives of any animals I’ll take it as a win. If less dairy mean more life in the rivers, then I’ll take it as a big win.

                  I’d argue we need to look at our relationship to all animals – not just the ones we put a commercial, or dietary value on.

                  But write a post (read the guide lines *cough* long polemic from me rejected) – submit it , see how it goes.

                  • weka

                    I’d be interested to hear more about what the Church is doing on that at some point adam.

                    • adam

                      I was too, was enjoyable to get email, then have a chat on phone about it. And then have it pop up over drinks over the weekend from another friend. So It seems to be gaining some momentum.

                      One friend may go to Europe this year to join a theological debate on this topic. I’ll see if I can get them to write something for the Standard. Or at the very least, point me in the right direction.

          • greywarshark 11.1.1.1.2

            NZ’s problem isn’t growing food. It’s that it is growing cash crops for export. If we were growing food locally and sustainably, instead of misusing the land to make money,we wouldn’t have a problem with river pollution.

            What hurts about the industrial farming, and trying to maximise revenue by overstocking, using artificial fertiliser and importing extra feed, is that it has been shown not to increase profits at all. And when emvironmental costs are included, those moves depress the profit per animal and per hectare. All that tunnel-vision effort for a disadvantage.

      • weka 11.1.2

        I’d add that there is a problem with attacking all farming that has stock that has access to waterways. High country cattle and sheep farming comes with its own set of environmental problems, but they should be addressed separately from industrial dairying. Separately because they need specific solutions, not just a knee jerk reaction every time someone sees an animal standing in a stream.

        • RuralGuy 11.1.2.1

          As a dairy farmer I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment.

          I agree that high country farming is different, and the water quality issues are also different. High country contribute the vast majority of sediment and phosphorus in surface waterway. P binds itself to soil so you only need to limit sediment to control both undesirable discharges.

          The solution is still to fence off waterways with a riparian strip to stop sediment runoff. The hesitation from the high country farmers isn’t the fencing, it’s having to fund water reticulation to water the stock. It’s a money problem.

          • weka 11.1.2.1.1

            I agree it’s a money problem. My point was that instead of having a panacea that will make NZers feel better about themselves, we should be applying solutions designed for each site that are what that site needs. e.g. small farms maybe able to find other solutions to the problems than a one size fits all approach.

            “The solution is still to fence off waterways with a riparian strip to stop sediment runoff. ”

            Yes, but it’s one of the solutions, and high phosphate is not just a problem when it gets into waterways, it’s a problem for soil too.

            We also need to stop routine burnoffs, transition off artificial fertilisers, change grazing practices, change paddock plantings, increase shelter belts, planting to reduce erosion etc. Too many people think that fencing and riparian strips will make farming sustainable. It won’t (although it will be a hell of an improvement on what we have now).

            • RuralGuy 11.1.2.1.1.1

              You make some good points, but you have to overlay any of your suggestions with a view of how would operate in a regional plan under the resource management act.

              You’ve nominated a bunch of good sensible on farm solutions but I can’t see the first point to of compliance that a regional plan would require. You simply cannot establish a flexible good management practice suite of tools for use on farm in the current RMA framework.

              The reality is that farming has too many of these management points to be regulated. All of my on farm decisions have to balance environmental, financial, climate, nutrient use, effluent, feed balance, regrassng, cropping, supplements, staff, animal welfare, overseas markets, wintering, agronomy, crude protein, land management, slope and contour constraints. And even though my farm is unique, every other farmers will have to balancing the same considerations which is why your GMP suggestions cannot generate a set of regional rules with a workable first point of compliance.

      • Banjo 11.1.3

        That the beef industry haven’t set a single standards for waterways stock exclusion, yet as they kind of get to fly under the radar as they are the poor cousins of the farming world.”

        Given the National Government’s failure to provide any leadership or vision around the issue of water quality, they will probably continue to fly under the radar, there is clearly no pressure on the beef industry from a higher level to make any positive changes. “Wadeable” is a shameful baseline.

        The foresty industry needs a shake up on the damage they cause to waterways and estuaries also. They plant and harvest logs practically right down to the water level in the upper reaches of the estuary in my area, causing sediment problems and I see many tributary creeks jammed up with debris after harvesting in the local mountainbike park.

  11. Greg 12

    Dairy industry are experts at transferring there costs to society
    They have made no account for the full cost of there industry .there actions are threatening quality of life and jobs deyond the farm gate .dairying may not even be vIable if total costs were accounted for

    • RuralGuy 12.2

      Hi Greg,

      Are you able to point me in direction of where these costs are, who has funded them and when please.

      Thanks in advance.

      • darth smith 12.2.1

        here your answer http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/68124994/nzs-dairy-pollution-cost-may-be-15b-report
        the tax payer will end up with the bill
        why should the tax payer pay the industry should pay for there mess

      • greg 12.2.2

        heres your answer
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/68124994/nzs-dairy-pollution-cost-may-be-15b-report
        clean up cost is more than the industry is worth but industry should pay not the tax payer
        tourists don’t want to swim in your cow shit

        • RuralGuy 12.2.2.1

          No, not what I asked for.

          Who has paid what and when please.

          Let’s stick to facts please.

          • mickysavage 12.2.2.1.1

            Basically cows cause huge amounts of damage to waterways and emit huge amounts of GHGs. And farmers don’t have to pay for it.

            • RuralGuy 12.2.2.1.1.1

              Thanks Micky. So if farmers aren’t paying for these GHG and waterways damages then who is and how much is it?

              So what is your suggested solution?

          • Macro 12.2.2.1.2

            Farmers have paid next to nothing for polluting waterways…
            That’s what the fuss is all about!
            This is called an externalized cost.

            Fundamentally, cost externalization occurs when a company transfers some of its moral responsibilities as costs to the community directly or as degradation to the environment. For example, railroads and airlines transfer the cost of fuel, noise, and terminal infrastructure to the community. Airlines and auto manufacturers transfer the cost of degraded air quality to the community and the environment. By externalizing to the community or the environment, many true costs become lost in analysis because the true cost is non-quantifiable and neither the community nor the environment have effective advocates to recoup the damages. A major modern theme in the relationship of business to society is the society’s ability (or inability) to resist this kind of externalization. In its extreme, society collapses as business realizes its profits.

            • Clump_AKA Sam 12.2.2.1.2.1

              Dud. If you open an iPhone, every conpoment was payed for with public money, Jobs just came after and put it in a neat package that appeals to the centres in your brain we use for sex

              Edit:Ps can you give guy some space to answer me before all that

              • Macro

                wtf are you on about sam?
                What is the point of your comment?
                I agree – most of what we use and consume bears externalized costs and the iPhone is a very pertinent example, from the mining of the resources used in its production to the slavery of the humans who produce it.
                The dairy industry in NZ has externalized the cost of the extensive use of fertilizers and the effluent run-off from farms for years now, and they still fail to acknowledge this – as clearly evidenced by RuralGuy.
                The serious deterioration of our waterways just didn’t happen because a few ducks shat in the water! What has happened? Oh Yes! We have substantially increased our dairy herd, poured more fertilizer on our paddocks, and irrigated our pastures more and more… Funny that the waterways are now so polluted – wonder how that happened?
                These people claim to be intelligent business people. Funny how their intelligence suddenly stops at making any logical connection between cause and effect.

                • Clump_AKA Sam

                  Maybe guy is or isn’t who he says he is. I just want to see if he’ll put his money where his mouth is before I’ll condem him

                • RuralGuy

                  Alright – I have a SR of 2.9 cows/ha, produce 1180 mskg/ha, use 130 kg N/ha/yr with 5 applications of urea and sustain at an average response rate of 9:1, grow approx 12.5t DM / ha / yr, import 1.1 t DM / ha / yr and have N loss of 36 kg/N/ha/yr.

                  So these are all the input and output metrics for my farm, tell me what cost I should making for environmental purposes and how you worked it out, whom it’s paid to and who no longer needs to pay to cover my share.

                  • Clump_AKA Sam

                    Place saver: I’ll have something to say about this in the morning

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      I won’t bother any one with the math because I realised a price system won’t stop the polls from melting because theyve already melted.

                      Growth model. Ultimately growth in energy consumption has to end, that’s the additional retention of infra-red wast heat due to CO2 levels. At our current growth rate in 2000 years, even if we became a star ferrying civilisation we’d be using the same amount of energy as the Milky Way Galaxy. Thats just ridiculous and not worth exploring further.

                      With out looking at anything else by the end of the year demand for mskg will halve.

                      The only thing for it is to plan a draw down properly in some way, sacrifice 3mil cows and have a bbq. Alternatively you can leave it up to the free markets and destroy the entire industry because no one wants to be the tallest dwarf.

                      Edit: I think only notions of a UBI can draw down the diary industry properly which is another conversation

                  • Clever attempt to bury the obvious in detail; too difficult, can’t/won’t do it. An analogy: a person builds a fire from car tyres and sets it alight. The neighbours can’t help but breathe in the fumes. The fire-setter says, “Who should I pay in compensation? How much should I pay? Can you prove that car tyre smoke is harmful to neighbours…on and on it goes. The use of urea to feed grass is similar: urea is made from fossil fuel. When it’s applied it enters the open system, having previously been sequestered, and adds to the greenhouse gas load. Cue excuses as described above.

                  • Macro

                    🙄
                    You have no idea!
                    The input and outputs you quote are nothing. They are all dependent upon an environment you use as if it belongs to you and you alone and is unlimited.
                    You make no cognisance of the environment upon which your livelihood depends. You THINK you know – but you don’t.
                    Just take for instance the complete nonrecognition on your part of the waste produced by your animals. Are there drains open or field running through your paddocks?
                    Of course there are.
                    And where do they run? To a central drain or water course.
                    And where does that water course, or central drain run?
                    To a creek or river and so on to the sea.
                    End of problem?
                    No because the untreated effluent from your animals – equivalent to a small town – ends up in our water ways. But you pay NOTHING for this convenience nor contribute anything to the maintenance of the environment upon which you depend.
                    And you wonder why people are loosing their patience with the likes of vandals like you.

      • Macro 12.2.3

        Externalized costs such as the pollution of the commons for a start – but I’m sure you wouldn’t understand any of that.

        • RuralGuy 12.2.3.1

          You’d be surprised what I understand and who I am. Snide comments belittle the debate. Stick to the topic.

          Give me a real world example of these costs please.

          • Robert Guyton 12.2.3.1.1

            “Don’t you know who I am?” is a famously foolish question, RuralGuy.
            Perhaps though, you are a Terribly Important Person; certainly your inflated sense of self shows through in your commenting style. I’d say the costs of Fonterra’s use of coal to power their factories is a good example of the industry not paying the true cost of production, and that’s just one example. Mind you, it’s Greg’s claim, it just seems correct to me. Then there’re “green-stream events”. There’s a phrase not widely regognised by the public, but one that would gain currency, if more such incidents were reported by the media.

            • RuralGuy 12.2.3.1.1.1

              Thank you councillor. But again the answer your giving is a snide remarks and a condescending “I know best” attitude.

              So what cost is somebody else paying to compensate for the dairy industry? Show me the money.

              Interesting using coal fired boilers as an example, especially the Southland Regional Council has recently consented several of these in their region.

              It’s easy to be a keyboard social justice warrior, but you’ve got an opportunity to actually use your position to influence and not a peep is spoken.

              • weka

                Why are the answers above not sufficient? Are you saying that polluted rivers aren’t a ‘cost’?

                • RuralGuy

                  I’m not saying that at all, but costs have values. So what is the value of the cost and how is it currently being funded.

                  • weka

                    The value of the cost? How do you put a price on being able to swim in a river or not? Not sure what you mean by how is it funded. Are you playing semantic games?

                    • RuralGuy

                      nope , no games.

                      So how do you propose intangible costs get passed onto the consumer?

                    • weka

                      I don’t propose that. The costs are being borne by the environment and citizens e.g. by species decline or not being able to swim in a river.

                  • McFlock

                    Were it only that simple.

                    Firstly, there’s the damage to our “100% pure” tourism brand that has been built up over decades.

                    Secondly, there’s the opportunity cost of ventures that require clean waterways, like fishing and rafting.

                    Thirdly, additional treatment costs for municipal water supplies.

                    Fourthly, there’s the healthcare costs of exposure to contaminated water.

                    Fifthly, there’s the opportunity costs of future possible ventures in tourism or aquaculture that will never even be on the table because of water quality.

                    And if you can quantify all those costs and identify the peoplewho pay those costs and charge the dairying industry for those damages, how do you value the quality of life damage? I spent much of my childhood in a rural area, and could play in creeks or fish in lakes without fear of explosive diarrhea. The odds are against kids in that area having those opportunities today.

                    How do you even put a number on that?

                    • RuralGuy

                      Thanks for the response.

                      You’ve listed some things that are clearly important to you. Interestingly enough several of the very examples you’ve mentioned have been tested already in the environment court, but the court (and the RMA) are not equipped for intangibles and opportunity costs. None of these examples would move the court. The court can only deal in science and fact, not potential, unforeseen and missed opportunities.

                      I reference the environment court as that is ultimately where these types of land use issues end up.

                    • McFlock

                      The problem is that the entire capitalist system falls over when it comes to things like negative externalities. We might be able to calculate some of the material costs of treating e.g. our high levels of giardia from a population perspective, but even then we can’t equitably figure out how to make the polluters pay under the current regime, as you point out.

                      That’s why our rivers are full of shit (and other things).

                      Just because you can’t immediately calculate a price doesn’t mean that something very wrong isn’t happening. It just means that the current system is incapable of dealing with it.

                      What needs to happen is nationwide enforcement, including fence monitoring, water quality monitoring at entry and exit of farm boundaries and factory outlets, and massive fines for pollution and stock intrusion. All funded by a levy on commercial property owners who use those waterways. That would be a start.

                    • weka

                      Why is that not possible under capitalism (the last bit about nationwide reg and enforcement)?

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      Because it doesn’t have attached a population growth cycle. In other words it’s slowly killing us

                    • McFlock

                      Why is that not possible under capitalism (the last bit about nationwide reg and enforcement)?

                      The regulatory framework can still be set up, but any price levied for anything other than direct, immediately quantifiable damages (e.g. cancelled fishing trip clients for a tour guide @$2k a client) would be purely token and punitive. They wouldn’t be genuine compensation for not being able to use the local swimming hole, even if the bored kids got a payout.

                      Capitalism is really bad at dealing with negative externalities. All it can really do is make regulations enforcable and the punishments strong enough that companies can’t simply factor it in as a cost of doing business. The higher the potential profit, the higher the fines need to be in order to make it an existantial problem for the rapacious company. And that’s a conflict of interest for any capitalist system.

                      The “population growth cycle” is an interesting discussion, but I was thinking more of the daily practicalities of assessing true cost (including opportunity cost and quality of life costs) and arranging compensation. Capitalism just can’t deal with needs and wants that people don’t know they have. It’s agency driven, where people need to act in their own interests. But if you don’t know you’ve experienced a cost or from whom you incurred it, how can you act to recoup your interests?

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      Touchè

                  • I’m not saying that at all, but costs have values. So what is the value of the cost and how is it currently being funded.

                    Oh no you don’t. If the country puts a dollar figure on the cost of polluted waterways and damage to our international reputation caused by the dairy industry, it thereby implies that the pollution and damage would be acceptable if the industry were to somehow compensate the country to that dollar value. That’s not how it works.

                    It’s up to the industry to figure out how much it would cost dairy farmers to not render the country’s waterways “wadeable-only quality” and spend that amount making it happen.

              • “Show me the money”
                Your political radar seems to be badly rusted, RuralGuy.
                Not a peep spoken, RuralGuy? Ha! I’ve hounded my fellow councillors over coal-fired boilers, especially those of Fonterra and congratulated the council itself for replacing its own with a better system. Having a council heavily weighted with farmer-councillors makes any attempts to influence change difficult, but not impossible.

          • Clump_AKA Sam 12.2.3.1.2

            Hold the wagon. Let’s back up a bit. Fact is most agriculture inputs are miss priced or not priced at all. So business people need to help government create the property right system that makes that scarcity evident to themselves/customers/suppliers. We have confronted scarcity in the past and figured out ways to solve them. Those have always used a compass of price signals as messages to consumers, so if we get into trouble we are unwilling to allow those price signals to signal consumers about scarcity.

            If we pretend things are free, we will use to much of it.

            If we pretend the atmosphere has infinite ability to adsorb carbon dioxide, we will over use that ability and bring about changes that are difficult to manage. It’s not impossible

            If we mismanage water we will run ourselves into difficulties on that front.

            So what need to do is get the market signals right so that the farmers who are enormously innovative people whether in Waikato or Cap Town, can do what makes since to themselves, there family, and broader society in which they live.

          • Macro 12.2.3.1.3

            If you can’t read the post and understand the implications, oh very important one – then I fail to see what use it would be to enumerate them yet again.

            But here is the crux of the problem – yet again:

            Greenpeace provided the ASA with a 13 page file of scientific evidence pointing to nitrate and pathogen pollution of our waterways as a result of industrial dairying.

            Toop says the government’s own figures show 62 per cent of New Zealand’s monitored rivers are already unsafe for swimming.

            my bold

            Obviously the state of our waterways is of little concern to you.

            Cleaning them up of course carries a cost.

            I live overlooking the Firth of Thames. I can see the cost of intensive dairying every day.

            If you were a keen fisherman you would have noted a reduced catch this past summer – another consequence of externalised costs as the snapper breeding grounds become ever more polluted from the run-off from the “small towns” * without any sewage treatments that occur every 500 metres across the plains.
            Added to this is the constant addition of phosphates and nitrogen fertilizers, the excess of which finds its way into our waterways.

            * a herd of 200 has the effluent output of a town of around 3000 residents. Such a town would have even a rudimentary sewage treatment plant. Simply spraying the collection of effluent off the dairy shed floor onto paddocks isn’t exactly state of the art sewage treatment.

            • RuralGuy 12.2.3.1.3.1

              Interested in your Firth of Thanes example as a non statutory plan change has just been set for the Firth where the science attributes the water quality issues to sediment of a mostly historic nature. I recollect the main upshot was that 280t of sediment was being washed into the Thames via the Waitoa, the Piako and the Waihou that was mainly sourced from forestry and the Kaimais.

              Where I find your comment interesting is the nutrient management analysis, where neither N or P are limiting factors and have no impact on the firth water.

              Firth water quality will improve if sunlight is able to penetrate deeper into the water body.

              Link to the plan is attached.

              http://www.seachange.org.nz/Read-the-Plan/

              • Macro

                Yes I know all about Sea Change…
                Commissioned by Commercial Interests.
                Frankly not impressed.
                There are other studies I can quote – which have just the complete opposite results.
                eg

                Research by Dr John Zeldis, principal scientist for marine ecology at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), shows that water in the Firth of Thames has become increasingly acidic because of a build-up of nutrients from rivers which receive run-off from farms on the Hauraki Plains.

                Regular measurements taken by Niwa since 2010 show the water has become oversaturated with carbon dioxide, which could endanger the health of shellfish and juvenile fish.

                Dr Zeldis, who has worked in the Hauraki Gulf for 25 years, told the Weekend Herald the challenge ahead lay in balancing multiple uses of the environment, such as farming, and sustaining healthy ecosystems.

                my bold.

  12. Paul 13

    Our waterways are an embarrassment.
    No need for the quote marks, RNZ.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/322020/nz-waterways-an-'embarassment

  13. Sanctuary 14

    “…Simple answer – stop using cows and other animals to produce food. The fact is that it’s always going to be dirty, cruel and an inefficient use of water, land and other resources…”

    Actually, pigs are none of the above – you get almost 1kg of tasty, tasty pork for every kilo of food you feed them, they don’t take up much space and they drink water, i suppose. I keep pigs just for that reason!

    • weka 14.1

      what do you feed them?

      • Sanctuary 14.1.1

        I have a pretty simple minimum standard when it comes to the animals I eat, and that is they all should be allowed to express normal behaviour. Cows should moo and eat grass in a field, sheep ditto except go “baa” you get the idea.

        The pigs have a rectangular mobile (it is built on skids) corrugated iron sty with lockable door and a tilting roof so we can change their straw. We have enough stout mobile fencing for an enclosure about 20x20m. The pigs get moved once they’ve finished rooting up a block, eating all the grass and what not. Apart from that, we used to feed them scraps from a bakery but that made them too fat, so now we feed them proper pig food plus any National party voters who stray onto the property.

        The point is that instead of getting all high and mighty like red-blooded above, we should have rules around the minimum standards expected in animal husbandry at all times. The market will then determine the price, and if the price goes up consumption will automatically drop. The problem isn’t the husbandry of farm raising animals to eat properly, it is cruelty of factory farming living creatures like pigs and chickens and cows to drive down the price of animal protein to obscene levels.

        Oh as to killing? well, if you want life, you gotta have death. And if you asked a cow if it would have preferred not existing at all to five years of a good time in the paddock, it would pick the latter every time I am sure.

        And knowing that what is on your plate was eating your spray-free grass and happily living on your property from the day it was born to the day it died is very satisfying, and I think home grown beef, lamb and pork is so much nicer than poor Daisy the past it dairy cow turned into mince from the supermarket.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          That’s pretty close to how I see it too. I think many of us could eat less meat too, and then there are those who need more meat than they can’t afford, so I’m interested in the standards first then the market will adjust idea. Anyone who has grown their own food and tried to sell it knows that food is artificially cheap due to fossil fuels and subsidies. We need a living wage and UBI alongside everything else.

        • Andre 14.1.1.2

          Jesus Sanc, lay off feeding Nats to your pigs. You want them to get sick? The old prohibitions against pork were coz of diseases that transfer easily from pigs to humans – and it goes just as easy the other way.

  14. mosa 15

    The fact is that as long as the National party acts as a wet nurse to the Dairy industry and remains in government we will never get a change in attitude or an admission that we have a serious problem with pollution in our water and other areas and the damage it is doing.

    I am surprised that the ASA was able to reach this decision without political interference.

    Its a small step in a long journey to the 100% clean and green NZ the world keeps being told that exists.

  15. Siobhan 16

    No point in me comenting on this when I eat/drink so much dairy and meat.
    We shall be giving up having milk in our coffee this year. 2 people, around 5 coffees a day each, 7 days a week, it all ads up. Also, time for me to only buy ‘petite’ burgers, seriously, I’m not a lumberjack.

    • mosa 16.1

      Quite right Siobhan.

      • greywarshark 16.1.1

        Seems to me that the cow wouldn’t mind you having a bit of milk for your coffee.
        And it would be the one thing in it that would probably be useful for your body’s health. Better treatment of cows after calving, personal attention to their health and decent conditions with shelter and shade, and we could feel proud of our farming sector again. We might even slide down banisters if we coulf find some.

        Reminded me of AAMilne’s Alderney cow. She was very kind hearted about providing some milk and butter after hearing that the King had wanted butter for his bread and was upset at being told that many people preferred marmalade instead.
        The Queen said,
        “There, there!”
        And went to
        The Dairymaid.
        The Dairymaid
        Said, “There, there!”
        And went to the shed.
        The cow said,
        “There, there!
        I didn’t really
        Mean it;
        Here’s milk for his porringer,
        And butter for his bread.”…

        The King said,
        “Butter, eh?”
        And bounced out of bed.
        “Nobody,” he said,
        As he kissed her
        Tenderly,
        “Nobody,” he said,
        As he slid down the banisters,
        “Nobody,
        My darling,
        Could call me
        A fussy man –
        BUT
        I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!”
        http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-king-s-breakfast/

    • corokia 16.2

      No Siobhan, NZ has had town supply dairying for over a century. That isn’t the problem.

      In the 1970s the dairy herd was about 2 million cows, now it is about 6 million.

      Your statement “No point in me comenting on this when I eat/drink so much dairy and meat” is misguided. It reminds me of the people who claim that those who use fossil fuels can’t comment on climate change. Both are wrong.

  16. TootingPopularFront 17

    Apparently, the Dairy Industry is appealing the decision, citing being “ahead of the game” when it comes to protecting the land and waterways from intensive, industrial dairy farming…

    • RuralGuy 17.1

      Hi,

      I’m curious, what defines industrial or intensive dairy farming. And feel free to be as precise and technical as you want. I hear these terms used, but as somebody in the industry it doesn’t mean much to anyone without understanding what you consider to be industrial?

      Thanks in advance

      • weka 17.1.1

        Are you saying that you personally don’t understand what industrial dairying is? I find that highly unlikely.

        • RuralGuy 17.1.1.1

          Yep, that’s exactly right. I can explain in great detail each production system from 1 to 5 (which is how dairying in NZ is actually segmented) but I have no idea what an industrial farm is.

          Give me your basics, maybe start with LUC, stocking rate and productivity.

          • weka 17.1.1.1.1

            Nah, that’s your job. I think you are playing a game. This is a political forum, not an industry one. If you can’t engage at the level of the lay person you have a problem.

            Industrial dairying. Think of it this way. My mate down the road with a couple of house cows that provide enough for her family plus excess to sell to the neighbourhood is at one end of the spectrum. At the other is something like this, which is basically factory farming,

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/69477279/worlds-largest-robotic-dairy-barn-leads-farming-technology

            Cows keep in barns, large numbers, huge infrastructure needed. It probably includes land flattening and tree removal for irrigation to grow crops to feed the cows. Palm kernel. Phosphates. Antibiotics. Fossil fuel intensive processing into order to export the fertility to make money. I’m painting broad strokes here.

            I think you understand perfectly well the difference between the two.

            Somewhere in between is the kind of dairying that existed before the current boom, and a whole bunch of gradations either side.

            So intensification has happened on a number of fronts. More farms, and farms being more industrial, leading to waterways being polluted.

            Your asking about the word ‘intensive’ I can only take as disingenuous. A child unable to swim in the local river any more understands these things.

            • RuralGuy 17.1.1.1.1.1

              But you’ve just uncovered the challange the industry has.

              To actually efficiently convert nutrient to milk a farm needs scale. The larger farms with feed infrastructure are inherently better at converting inputs to milk as their conversion efficiency is higher. I guarantee you that a single unit of 2000 cows will be environmentally outperform 20 x 100 cows farms.

              If you want an impartial science based view on this, you should look for Alison Dewes pHD paper called “Tomorrow’s Farms Today”

              For the record, there are things I want to see change in the industry. I don’t think dairying should take place on LUC 6 and above, I’d like to see PKE removed, I’d like to see probe technology mandatory for irrigation and effluent application depths led to 20mm per application and mandatory effluent storage based upon the Massey calculator.

              • weka

                “To actually efficiently convert nutrient to milk a farm needs scale.”

                “To actually efficiently convert nutrient to money via milk a farm needs scale.”

                Fify.

                “I guarantee you that a single unit of 2000 cows will be environmentally outperform 20 x 100 cows farms.”

                I don’t care at that level, because it’s not the environment’s job to perform. The solution isn’t to have a 2000 cow farm that can fit within the rules of ‘let’s get away with what we can and try and do the least damage’. It’s to have less cows by a large magnitude. Yes, we will have to decommission dairy farms and covert them to something else. Yes, I am fundamentally against the attempt to make industrial dairying sustainable, because it can never be.

                I don’t mean that to be as harsh at it sounds, and I support farmers to not get left in the lurch when all this falls over. I also appreciate that you have to make a living from this and I don’t, so I can argue it differently. It’s just that sustainable doesn’t look anything like what you are talking about.

                • RuralGuy

                  So, if I destock what do I do with the surplus grass? My feed (ie grass growth) matches my animal energy requirements. It’ll still grow after all is said and done. Cows just convert grass protein to dairy protein at the end of the day.

              • weka

                “But you’ve just uncovered the challange the industry has.”

                See, you do know what industrial dairying is 😉

            • Robert Guyton 17.1.1.1.1.2

              Elegantly answered, weka. I smell dancing and I see pin heads.

          • Pat 17.1.1.1.2

            NZ has committed to approx 60% GHG emission reduction over next 13years and ag is responsible for 48 % of those GHG……a couple of questions as you are taking the time….(assumption is you accept stated figures, feel free to state otherwise)

            how do you see that target being met?

            if that target is met, what do you envisage the impact on ag practice would be?

            and to remain on topic, do you see any of those changes positively impacting water quality?

            • RuralGuy 17.1.1.1.2.1

              I see the GHG challenge being met by several different pathways in combination. Improved animal genetics, improved cultivar selection and marginal land being retired from pastoral farming.

              The land retirement will provide the biggest impact on GHG and water quality but will impact productivity.

              The land retirement will be controversial for farmers, as it’ll mean that I’ll have to start to farm trees to sequester carbon

              • Pat

                would expect a significant reduction in national herd as a result…..controversial as you say and am curious as to how it would be managed.

      • halfcrown 17.1.2

        “I’m curious, what defines industrial or intensive dairy farming. And feel free to be as precise and technical as you want. I hear these terms used, but as somebody in the industry it doesn’t mean much to anyone without understanding what you consider to be industrial?”

        If you take a trip down the centre of the NI ie Tokoroa, Whakamaru you will see a large area of the carbon absorbing plantation forest has now been turned into another large polluting dairy farm.
        It looks very industrial to me with all the races, piped water to all the water troughs and irrigation systems.

  17. NZJester 18

    Farmers at one point found a great way to keep their soil nice and nutrient rich while growing crops with an environmental practice that not only kept the soil healthy it also kept a lot of crop diseases and bug infestations at bay a lot of the time. That sustainable method was crop rotation. These days they just keep growing the same crops over and over in the same location and add on fertilizer to replace the nutrients taken out of the soil and use chemical sprays to keep the bugs and fungus infections at bay, two methods that are bad for our waterways. Dairy farmers need to also look at growing something else besides grass all the time to naturally put nutrients back in the soil the natural way. By rotating the crops the bugs that eat the crops also tend to die off as you change to a different crop they are not adapted to eat. It also makes it harder for plant diseases or fungal infections to survive to infect the next lot of certain types of crops when they are planted due to the long interval between the replanting of each crop type.

    • RuralGuy 18.1

      Crop rotation is still a very widely used on farm tactic. I regrass approx 20% per year of the platform and use summer cropping to do this. I can’t think of many farmers that don’t have some form of cultivation program.

      You’re explanation of the microbial activity of unlocking immobilised nutrients from the organic matter is right, but caution should always be taken as this organic pool can easily be lost from the growing zone if this organic N exceeds plant growth requirement. In a lot of respects, the tactic is more advanced now days as the use of cover crops like triticale and oats are being used strategically to use fast growing to soak up this excess N before going back into a perennial rye/clover mix.

      You also need to be careful not to over cultivate, as you could end up with bigger problems by constantly stirring the organic matter. This is why some of the cropping farms in Franklin struggle as 20 years of potatoes have left these soils vulnerable and depleted.

      • Robert Guyton 18.1.1

        “this organic pool can easily be lost from the growing zone if this organic N exceeds plant growth requirement. ”
        The problem here being the very, very narrow range of plants being utilized by the dairy farmer. Those “unlocked immobilized nutrients” would be taken up by plants with deeper and more varied rooting systems if such plants were growing on a dairy farm, which they aren’t, dairy farms being relative deserts, compared with natural wild places where such leaching doesn’t take place.
        Almost all cultivating is over-cultivating. Direct-drilling is the sop by most farmers are using glyphosate to facilitate that.

  18. corokia 19

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/graph/15721/dairy-cattle-numbers-1895-2005

    2 million in the 1970s, 6 million now

    and from Stuff in May 2016 “For the year ending June 30, 2015 the number of dairy cattle in New Zealand fell to 6.5 million, down 213,000 from the year before, Statistics New Zealand said.”

    The number of cows has tripled in the last 40 years- unsurprisingly there have been environmental impacts. Its pretty simple. Too many cows. Too many dairy conversions. Too many dairy conversions on unsuitable land. We don’t have to get rid of all of them, but we sure as hell have to reduce the numbers.

    I’m interested to see how RuralGuy is going to spin that one.

    • Clump_AKA Sam 19.1

      I say we take it back to 1985, butcher 3mil cows and have a bbq

    • RuralGuy 19.2

      What’s to Spin? You’re comment is far too vague to even attempt to rebut.

      Maybe you let me know what sort of land you think is suitable for dairying and what type of on farm practice you want to see undertaken.

      • weka 19.2.1

        It’s not as simple as that though. Dairying is not one thing (which is part of corokia’s point). Stocking rates for instance are a huge factor. Ditto the flattening of land and removal of trees. But you know all this.

        I’m not sure there is any such thing as sustainable dairying to be honest, but these people are doing a lot of good things,

        http://www.clearwaters.co.nz

        • RuralGuy 19.2.1.1

          Jeez, that’s ballsey of you. It’s a split calving herd.

          This system is fine in small pockets, but the last thing anybody needs is 25% of the national herd calving down in Autumn.

          Winter milking inherently is a very challenging environmental prospect. Instead of their girls conserving feed and energy over winter for a spring calving, they’re consuming twice as many inputs as a dry cow to produce the milk. I’d Be very surprised if their N loss isn’t in the top quartile simply due to having a percentage of their girls milking during winter.

          • weka 19.2.1.1.1

            “This system is fine in small pockets, but the last thing anybody needs is 25% of the national herd calving down in Autumn.”

            Yeah, but you’ve probably realised by now that I don’t support the number of dairy farms we have in NZ, by a long shot.

            “Winter milking inherently is a very challenging environmental prospect.”

            Where did we get our fresh milk from in the past during winter? i.e. before all the rivers were polluted. For the sake of argument let’s pick the 1970s.

            “I’d Be very surprised if their N loss isn’t in the top quartile simply due to having a percentage of their girls milking during winter.”

            And how are they managing that?

            • RuralGuy 19.2.1.1.1.1

              You’ve always had winter milk produced for domestic supply, so winter milking isn’t new but the risks are now better understood. And you’ve now also got global export demand over winter as well – thus a far higher of cows are Autumn calving now as a response.

              The crux of the problem is cow urine. N is water soluble, so once the urine has gone thru the nitrification process it sits in the soil waiting for either a plant to take it up or rain to flush it thru. Winter has low plant growth needs for N and high rainfall events for a frequent flush thru. Ultimately the farm you’ve nominated aren’t managing winter because they can’t manage it. Best option would be get the girls off the pasture into a herd home and capture and hold onto the effluent to spread when the condition allows.

              • weka

                “And you’ve now also got global export demand over winter as well”

                Right. So the problem isn’t milking over winter, it’s the amount we are trying to do per land base, and that is being driven by the desire to make money. Stack that up against swimmable rivers and it doesn’t hold.

                Ultimately the farm you’ve nominated aren’t managing winter because they can’t manage it.

                If they’re not managing it where is the N going? And where did all the nitrogen from those old pre-water pollution dairy farms go?

                • RuralGuy

                  Once N is drained through the root zone with rainfall, it’s gone and is not coming back. It’ll make its way to surface or ground water eventually, but there will be some attenuation depending on what sort of parent material the soil is made up of.

                  N actually takes quite a long time to get to surface water, for example the science on some of the rivers I’m very familiar with are only just showing n loads from 30 odd years ago. What that means is that even if every farm meets good management right now, N will still track whilst the lag is working its way thru.

                  • weka

                    Yes, I’m familiar with that decades long lag too. Are you saying that the dairy farms in the 1970s, that milked through winter, were just as polluting as now, but we just haven’t seen the consequences yet? Because that’s not my understanding. So the Peel Forest farm might be able to sustain what it is doing, but not if that whole part of the plain was industrial dairying.

                    The point I am getting to is the measurement isn’t just about what’s happening with the stock units, it’s about that whole watershed and what it’s recovery capacity is e.g. an aquifer might have handled one or two dairy farms, but it can’t handle 30 (am making those figures up for the sake of argument). So here we are again at the fundamentally unsustainable nature of industrial farming.

                    At the moment, as far as I can tell, we are running systems that try and get as much out with the most amount of damage we can get away with. That’s why we have polluted rivers. Now there is some push back against that, but the problem is the lag time (even if we stopped it all today, it would take a long time for those ecosystems to recover), and how do you decommission under the current economic situation?

                    I think this got lost somewhere in the conversation, but the best hope I can see is for a left wing govt with the Greens as strong as possible and consequently govt putting a big push into sustainable agriculture along regenag lines (research, farm support, training, subsidies). Yes we need some good regulations and enforcement, but ultimately until there is a change in approach it’s all just shunting deck chairs around.

                    I appreciate your engagement in the conversation. IMO this is exactly what needs to happen. Farmers, greenies and the public all talking to each other in ways that create bridges and meeting points.

                    btw, what was your farm before it was a dairy farm? And before that?

                    • Cinny

                      Yes please for sustainable dairying. Re the Nitrogen, there are plants that thrive on N, one wonders why farmers don’t take advantage of it?

                      A simple solution as I can see it would be for dairy farmers to diversify and grow more than cows, grow Nitrogen loving crops as well, rotating the cows with the crops. Makes sense to me, Grandpop used to farm in this manner and he did very very well as a result. He would turn in his grave if he knew what has happened to NZ as a result of intensive dairying.

                      Good on the advertising standards for making the right call and shame on the dairy industry for complaining about what is the reality of our dairy industry. We all want clean water, all of us, with that in mind I’m unsure why any would be upset about this decision.

      • corokia 19.2.2

        More important, from an environmental point of view (which is what this post on rivers is about ), is to focus on the ‘sort of land’ where dairying that is dependent on irrigation should NOT be happening. The Mackenzie country for a start. Also large parts of Canterbury which were previously mainly cropping.

        • weka 19.2.2.1

          Central Otago, all the way down the Waitaki and the catchments that feed it. But then we could also say that despite the rainfall large parts of Southland are unsuitable due to the swampy nature of the land, or the proximity to rivers. There used to be dairy farms in Southland that didn’t pollute the rivers to the point that you couldn’t swim in or drink from the them, so what changed? This is not rocket science.

          • corokia 19.2.2.1.1

            What’s changed is the numbers.

            • weka 19.2.2.1.1.1

              Numbers (stock rate and quantity of farms), but also techniques. The irrigation thing is new. I think how land is being artificially fertilised has changed too. Fonterra. China wanting milk powder.

  19. corokia 20

    With the recent low payouts for milk solids, I would be interested to know how much tax has actually been paid by dairy farmers in the last couple of years. Yes I know farmers pay GST (and btw the PAYE from their workers income is the worker’s contribution to the tax take, not theirs.)

    If many of them are running at a loss at the moment, wouldn’t that mean they are not paying any income tax?

  20. greywarshark 21

    This is a thriving discussion. Went into extra time to the early hours of this morning and into the day. We should be able to deal with the problems and gain much basic information on both sides before it tails off. Then we won’t be all behind like a cow’s tail as the saying goes.

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