A new survey suggests dairy farmers have spent $1 billion on environmental initiatives on their farms over the past five years.
DairyNZ and Federated Farmers conducted the survey to quantify how much farmers are investing in environmental actions such as effluent management, stock exclusion, riparian planting and developing wetlands.
Five hundred and twenty-eight farms responded to the survey, which represents five percent of New Zealand's dairy businesses.
Federated Farmers national dairy chair Andrew Hoggard said the findings showed farmers have spent on average $18,000 a year, or $90,000 over five years, on their farms.
He said it was the first time a survey like this had been conducted.
"Most of the spending, not surprisingly, is on effluent systems. They're without a doubt the most expensive component, particularly storage ponds," he said.
"Often an average size effluent system for an average size dairy farm will be costing in the six figure amount, somewhere in between $150,000 to $250,000, so when you look at that, the $90,000 does seem quite a reasonable number to use."
Mr Hoggard said the survey also showed respondents had spent $8 million dollars on retiring land and developing or preserving wetlands.