14 Dec 2011

Mixed report on clean dairying targets

6:31 am on 14 December 2011

The latest annual snapshot of progress in the dairying and clean streams accord has brickbats as well as bouquets for farmers in their efforts to protect waterways from pollution.

The accord, signed in 2003 by Fonterra and central and local government, set five targets for dairy farmers.

But with the agreement due to expire next year, three of the targets still have to be reached.

the greatest progress has been in providing bridges and culverts at regular stock crossing points. That has already reached 99% compliance, ahead of the 2012 target.

The number of farms excluding stock from waterways that are included in the accord has also increased.

The snap shot shows that dairy cattle are excluded from waterways on 84% of farms, although an independent survey commissioned by MAF has different figures.

It says 78% of waterway stream length is now protected and 42% of farms have excluded stock totally from waterways.

The snap shot shows there's been a small improvement in the level of full compliance with regional council dairy effluent rules to 69%.

Levels of significant non-compliance have also improved, dropping from 16 to 11% in the past season.

But the report notes that this area remains a concern for councils, with cases of serious non-compliance increasing in three regions: Bay of Plenty, Marlborough and Southland.

Still some way to go

Fonterra says the snapshot shows farmers are continuing to make progress, but still have some way to go.

Earlier this month Fonterra announced all farmers supplying it with milk would be required to have waterways fully fenced by June 2013.

With the accord set to expire next year, the dairy industry is now considering what should follow it.

There will be an announcement on that late next year.