Dairy farming has presented New Zealand with a number of well-publicised environmental challenges. At MyFarm, we don’t have all the answers to these challenges, but do we take our responsibility for minimising the impact of our activities on the environment seriously.
Installing the latest effluent management infrastructure (solids separation, effluent storage, irrigation, etc) appropriate for the scale of the farm operation is a standard inclusion in the capital cost of all our farm syndicates.
Effluent contains nutrients, so managing it effectively requires a system capable of storing and applying it at times when the soil can absorb those nutrients. This is dependent on soil moisture levels, which we measure using soil moisture strips.
We work closely with on-farm management to ensure effluent management systems and procedures are coping with the scale of the farm operation. Our farmers are expected to monitor the timing of effluent application, soil moisture levels and irrigation rates, and to be meticulous in their record keeping
Riparian management refers to the way we look after the margins of waterways, including streams, rivers, creeks and drains. It’s an ongoing commitment and a mandatory part of the development programme on all MyFarm properties.
We take a three-step approach:
- Fencing all riparian margins
- Planting the right vegetation for the purpose
- Nurturing and maintaining the vegetation.
Effective riparian management provides real benefits:
Fencing riparian margins prevents direct input of animal waste into waterways and protects vegetation from animal damage. The vegetation itself filters out contaminants from farm run-off, including cow dung and urine, phosphates and nitrates.
Trees, plants, and shrubs play a vital role in adding stability to the banks of waterways and holding them together.
Reducing Water Temperature
Tall vegetation reduces water temperature by shading waterways from the sun. This reduces the instances of algal bloom and enhances the bio-diversity of the waterway.
Removal of Willows
Willows are a weed. They grow quickly and clog up waterways to reduce flow, allow sediment build up, and raise water temperature.
Independent nutrient budgets are used to ensure nitrogen loss is within industry standards.
Efficient Water Use
Where a farm is irrigated, we ensure irrigators apply water efficiently and watering decisions are determined by soil water status information.
Greenhouse gas production
Our cows are well fed and well managed to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases per kilograms of milk solids produced.
Consultation with local and national bodies
Depending on the location of the property, we collaborate with various bodies, including:
- Environment Southland
- Regional Councils
- NZ Walking Access
- Fish and Game
A number of MyFarm properties house their cows in sheds during the coldest months, and when the cows are calving. This has a number of benefits:
- Cows require less feed to keep warm
- Effluent falls through the slatted floor and is collected underneath the shed
- There is less animal damage to wet winter pastures
- Cows are warmer and happier indoors.
Less common than our other environmental initiatives, an esplanade strip is a 20-metre strip of land running on both sides of a waterway that moves as the waterway moves. The waterway can be fenced within the 20-metre strip and the remaining strip outside the fence still be farmed, but public access must be allowed along the entire 20 metres.
Environmental Case Studies
Protection of Open Spaces: Brown's Limited Partnership
Working with Environment Southland and the QE2 National Trust, this Southland syndicate is in the process of registering a QE2 Open Space Covenant on 4.8 hectares of existing native bush and 0.4 hectares soon to be planted. This is a significant step that will see the formation of a legally binding protective agreement, registered in perpetuity against the title of the property, that will preserve this special place for future generations.
MyFarm managers put environment first
In 2013, Equity Managers, Terry Carr and his wife Jacqui, won two prestigious environmental awards for their work at Argyll Dairy Farm Partnership in Otago.
The LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award for the Otago region were part of the Balance Farm Environment Awards and were awarded in recognition of the Carr’s commitment to sustainable practices on their 1200 cow, 332 hectare farm northwest of Balclutha.
Terry says sustainability has always been their focus.
“It’s about making sure we look after our staff, our land and our industry,” he says.
The Carr’s have taken a proactive approach to addressing environmental issues. They have undertaken fencing of a river buffer zone, included riparian planting in their budgeting, addressed nutrient loss fertiliser application issues, and installed effluent systems that exceed council requirements.
Argyll Farm has two milking sheds - both have heat exchange units and the newest shed has a lightweight platform that requires less power to operate. Labour and energy costs are reduced in the early and latter parts of the season by operating just one shed.
The Carrs impressed the judges with their passion for technology and energy efficiency, and their dedication to staff management, health and safety, recording and maintenance.
As a senior Agribusiness Manager for MyFarm, Terry also oversees more than 15 dairy farms in the Southland region.
Managing Dairy Farms
By taking a disciplined approach to farm management, we aim to ensure farm businesses perform consistently, with predictable costs, reliable cashflow, and planned productivity growth.
Every farm is different, so our approach to environmental management is tailored according to farm size, location, proximity to waterways and other natural features.
Farm Business Services
Administrative processes are vital to the success of your farm investment. That’s why MyFarm’s involvement doesn’t end with the establishment of the farm syndicate
MyFarm’s team of experienced Agribusiness Managers represent the interests of syndicate investors in guiding the farm business to its full potential.
Talk with our Farm Investment Team
To find out more about land-based investment or MyFarm investment opportunities, please get in touch with us directly.
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