Farmers value environment

Most Taranaki farmers rate the environment as one of their top priorities, according to a national survey.

Distribution of riparian plants.

Around 400,000 native plants are being distributed to riparian plan holders this planting season through the Council's Riparian Management Programme. Most. like these, were collected during May from one of five depots established across the region.

Almost a third (28.4%) of Taranaki farmers surveyed put the environment as their No 1 priority ahead of life and finances. Another 47.7% rates the environment their second priority.

The findings, released in March, are from a Landcare Research survey of about 3000 rural landowners and managers across all agricultural sectors and regions, almost 5% of them from Taranaki. Key findings included:

Dairying: Taranaki had the highest percentage of respondents saying dairying is their primary land use (54.4%). No other region had more than 50% of respondents where land use was primarily dairying.

Riparian exclusion: Taranaki has one of the highest percentages of respondents who have fenced large streams in their property (91%), after Southland (95%) and Waikato (94%).

Nitrogen: 93% of Taranaki respondents adopted nutrient management planning – the highest of any region.

Phosphorus: 78% of Taranaki respondents indicated they manage phosphorus, also the highest of any region, along with Northland (78%).

Wetlands: Taranaki had the second highest percentage of respondents engaged in restoring existing wetlands. Waikato had the most.

The Taranaki Regional Council Chairman, David MacLeod, says it’s no surprise that Taranaki farmers are among the nation’s leaders in their commitment to riparian protection.

“It’s encouraging to see how the region’s farmers continue to show consistent support for, and commitment to, the Council’s world-scale and award-winning streamside fencing and planting programme,” he says. “Great progress has been made to date. Farmers are continuing to fence and plant their waterways, and order plants for next season, even though these are challenging times for many.”

Riparian plans now cover most of the region’s intensively farmed land, including all of the region’s dairy farms. 84% of streambanks covered by plans are fenced and 70% are protected by riparian vegetation.

“The 2020 target for landowners to complete riparian fencing and planting on intensively farmed land is achievable,” says Mr MacLeod.

“Almost four million plants have already been planted but millions more are still needed. Farmers need to plan and order in advance to make sure they secure the plants to finish the job on time.”

RECOUNT — Taranaki Regional Council's quarterly newsletter
Issue 101, June 2016