The giant dairy exporter puts dairy farm water and environmental conservation in the spotlight with the launch of a series of YouTube videos focusing on responsible dairying initiatives on New Zealand farms.
Entitled Farm Focus, the series begins today and will feature one farm every Wednesday for four weeks on Fonterra’s YouTube channel. The videos will also be posted on Fonterra’s Facebook and Twitter pages under the hashtag #farmfocus.
The four farms featured are from the central and eastern North Island of New Zealand. Each video accounts for one farm and the activities undertaken to protect waterways and natural resources while enhancing the economic viability of a farm.
Supply Fonterra Programme Director, Lisa Payne, says that the Farm Focusseries shows dairy farmers working in harmony with the environment and doing so in a financially sustainable way.
"Our farmers are acutely aware of the importance of protecting the health of New Zealand’s waterways and natural resources. They’ve fenced more than 92 per cent of farm waterways and are undertaking a tonne of good work in the area of nutrient, effluent and herd management," she says.
Not Just Fencing
Lisa Payne says the Farm Focus series brings to life the activities outside of fencing that are creating measurable change to New Zealand’s water quality. She says it also shows the vast amount of variables that farmers need to account for when dairy farming sustainably. These includes: fertiliser management, soil monitoring, effluent and riparian management, animal welfare and stocking rates and nutrient management plans, all of which leads to producing high quality milk.
"Sustainable dairy farming is about striking a balance between inputs and outputs. It could be matching fertiliser and irrigation to different soil and grass types on a farm, or lowering nutrient run-off through the use of effluent ponds and riparian planting. Whatever the case it’s a complex exercise," she says.
Lisa Payne says the work undertaken by Fonterra farmers across New Zealand differs per region and per farm: "You can’t simply transplant what works on one farm to another as there are so many variables in play. What it shows is that taking a whole of farm approach to sustainability and calculating how everything works together translates to environmental benefits and a healthier bottom line."
The first video features Bruce Woods’ (Whakatane) efforts on water conservation and effluent management.
Keep up to date with www.twitter.com/Fonterra and search the#farmfocus for further details. Subsequent episodes will be featured here.