Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
View this email in your browser
November 2015
Dear <<First Name>>
Earlier this month we were all given a reminder of what warm weather felt like, only to be plunged back into winter temperatures. Again there have been many meetings this month and various reports published, including a summary of feedback received by BOPRC on the draft rules.
Do come along to watch some of our multi-talented members make their silver screen debut in Christina Walker's documentary film - 'The Milkman's Paradox'. 
Remember, everything you read here is on our website -
Neil and I have been pretty busy over the past month attending several meetings. Here is a brief roundup of what has been happening.
$2.2 million has been put aside to cover the costs of establishing individuals’ NDAs (Nutrient Discharge Allowances) and to get Nitrogen Management Plans (NMPs) done. We recommend that all of our members contact BOPRC to start the process ASAP so that you are fully informed of what the rules will mean for you when they are notified. During this process you will find out what nitrogen you were leaching in the benchmark years of 2001 – 2004 using the latest Overseer 6.2.0 and what you will be allowed to leach by 2022 and 2032 if the current draft rules go ahead. You can also get some free business planning advice to see what steps you can take to reach these targets.

We are working with council staff to make the NMP process as simple and stress free as possible. I recently attended a meeting where we reviewed the forms and discussed some issues that our members have discovered from going through this process. The Council is very open to making improvements to both the forms and the process and have taken our advice on board. We agreed that the dairy industry’s Sustainable Milk Plan template can be used as an alternative to the Council’s Nitrogen Management Plan, as long as it covers all of the information required by the rules.  The front-runners are to some extent ‘guinea pigs’ but things will improve I hope! 

We’ve just had our monthly executive meeting and StAG meeting. At StAG we debated the pros and cons of small blocks being subjected to the same rules as large blocks in the catchment. There was broad agreement that blocks under 4 hectares should not be in the rules because the gains to the lake will be minimal therefore the compliance and social costs would not be justified. The Collective, together with all other StAG members (with the exception of the Deer member), voted in support of this sensible position. We are still debating whether 4-10 hectares should be similarly excluded. The larger the property and the more commercial it becomes, the more the weight falls in favour of including that land in the rules - watch this space.

Rules notification was going to be this year but I believe it will be postponed until after Xmas so that everyone can give them the 100% attention they will require when the formal RMA process begins.

Finally don’t forget to come along to the Novotel on Sunday 22nd November (6.30pm) to see Christina Walker’s documentary about the impact of this nutrient debate on our members. We will be around to catch up over a beer or wine afterwards. 

From Gisele Schweizer, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Summary of feedback on the draft rules
An additional period of consultation was carried out by BOPRC between August and October 2015 to assist Council's development of the draft nitrogen rules. The majority of the feedback came from drystock and deer farmers. A number of dairy farmers and horse owners also provided feedback. Over half of the feedback came from lifestyle property owners. Familiar themes emerged from this consultation including:
  • Landowner concern with the financial impacts from the cost of resource consents and the loss of income from reducing stocking rates.
  • The reliability of the science behind decision-making was questioned. It was also suggested that the scheduled science review should be completed now prior to the development of the rules.
  • The reliability of OVERSEER being used for regulatory purposes 
Several alternatives were suggested, including: aiming for the 2022 target only; using natural capital for allocation; focusing on phosphorous mitigation; using wetland areas to address nutrients; allowing more subdivision; not allowing any more dairy farms and education. Some landowners wanted the freedom to decide which nutrient management practice best fits their farm context.

Staff will consider the feedback, refine the Draft Rules and present them to a November Council workshop for discussion. A Council decision will then be made about the time frame for notification.
For more information on the feedback, view the full BOPRC report here
A review of Small Blocks in the Lake Rotorua catchment
A report on Small Blocks has been prepared for BOPRC to assist with the development of the Draft Nitrogen Rules. Here’s a summary of the report findings that were presented at StAG on the 10th November:
  • There are about 1,400 Small Blocks in the Lake Rotorua Catchment.
  • The Small Block sector covers 5,634 hectares across the catchment, or 13% of total rural land (41,760 ha) in the catchment.
  • Most Small Blocks are less than 4 hectares (1,045, 70% of total Small Blocks) which cover 1,104 hectares, or 18.5% of land in the Small Block sector.
  • An estimated 3,200 people or 5.7% of the total catchment population live on Small Blocks.
  • Although there are many Small Block land owners, the draft rules generally require modest N reductions. Small Blocks will contribute 4-6% of the total pastoral N reduction required by the draft rules. However, there will be considerable variation depending on individual property circumstances.
For more information, view the full StAG presentation here.
Ecotoxicological Review of Alum Applications to the Rotorua Lakes 
Alum dosing is a highly effective method for removing phosphorus from freshwater systems, and is currently being employed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to help meet water quality targets for lakes Rotorua, Rotoehu and Okaro. Alum chemically binds both suspended particles and dissolved phosphorus before settling to the lake bed, a process known as flocculation. Over time, phosphorus bound alum becomes buried and unavailable for algal growth, resulting in improved water quality.

This literature review was prepared in order to address a number of concerns regarding the toxicity of alum to aquatic organisms and the fate of alum in lake sediments. You can find the full report here
Land Use Advice & Support Update
The Land Management team has been working with landowners in the catchment who have signed up for the Land Use Advice & Support service. This service provides funding for all landowners in the catchment to develop a Nitrogen Management Plan (NMP) that shows the steps landowners will make towards reaching their provisional Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (pNDA) by 2032. 

One landowner has been through the process and has had their NMP developed by an independent Land Use Advisor, two NMPs are currently being developed, there has been over 80 enquiries for the service and 20 are well in to the process.

A working group made up of members of the Collective, Dairy NZ and Regional Council staff was set up to consider ways the service could be improved to make it easier for landowners while still meeting Regional Council requirements. The working group resolved half a dozen improvements including looking at having Dairy NZ’s Sustainable Milk Plan as an output of the service. These improvements are currently being worked on and the group will meet again to discuss what further improvements can be. Watch this space.

Landowners can register their interest for the FREE service by phoning the dedicated phone line (07) 921 3377 or email for more info.
The Milkman's Paradox - A  film by Christina Walker
"As the water quality of Lake Rotorua changes, so changes the lives of its surrounding dairy farmers".
The screening of the Fulbright documentary "The Milkman's Paradox". The premiere will be held at
6:30 PM on November 22nd at the Novotel Hotel in Rotorua. This event is free to the public.
For over 10 years, farmers have engaged in a community-wide debate on nutrient limits to clean up the second largest lake in New Zealand’s North Island. This on-going process has left many with a feeling of uncertainty about the future of their business and their town. With new environmental regulations comes change on a social, economic, and cultural level. This documentary, produced by Fulbright scholar Christina Walker, explores how dairy farmers adapt amidst the changing landscape of what it means to farm sustainably. Take a look at the trailer here
Drystock and dairy - who leaches what?
Here's a summary of the estimated nitrogen losses from dairy and drystock farms in the Lake Rotorua catchment and the expected reductions by 2032.
  • The annual nitrogen (N) losses from all drystock land (about 16,000 ha) and all dairy land (about 5000 ha) are about 500 tonnes each. This “below the root-zone” estimate is based on the latest OVERSEER nutrient model (version 6.2.0) and land use information from the 2001-2004 period (aka Rule 11 benchmarking process).
  • The average annual dairy land N loss rate per hectare was 100 kg (in 2001-2004); the average drystock rate was 31 kg. There was a lot of variation within each sector.
  • BOPRC adopted its “Integrated Framework” in 2013 after advice from StAG, including average rules-driven N reductions of 35.3% for dairy and 17.2% for drystock. This means that two-thirds of the total N rules reductions will come from dairy farms, and one-third from drystock farms. These average sector % reductions have not changed despite increases in predicted root-zone N losses from OVERSEER as the model was upgraded.
  • Draft individual 2032 farm targets, called “provisional Nitrogen Discharge Allowances” (pNDAs) can be obtained by contacting BOPRC on or 07-921 3377. A general pNDA guide with some examples is here.
Meet Stuart Morrison
While reluctant to be under our spotlight this month, dairy farmer and farmer advocate Stuart Morrison has made an enormous contribution to the Rotorua farming community. He might not say much, but when he does it is well worth listening to. He has earned the respect of many in and around the catchment though his quiet determination, and his ability to negotiate the political landscape intelligently and respectfully.
Stuart has contributed extensively to the Rotorua farming industry/community over the years through his involvement in Federated Farmers, the Land Use Futures Board, the Rotorua Primary Producers Collective and the Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG).  He has served as Chairman on both StAG and the Collective. 
His balanced and considered view of the many issues we are facing, coupled with his years of practical knowledge, is valued by many. Stuart believes the Collective’s strength is that it provides a forum to discuss an idea, form a view (or views), and then engage with councils in a more effective way than any individual may do. Read more
Dry conditions mean low lake levels 
A very dry season to date led Bay of Plenty Regional Council to issue a low lake level notification at the start of this month. Bay of Plenty Regional Council Principal Engineering Surveyor Graeme O’Rourke said it was early to be in this position. Read more
Water advisory groups appointed
Three new Freshwater Futures community groups, established to advise the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on decisions about water management in the Rangitāiki, Kaituna/Maketū and Pongakawa/Waitahanui catchments, have met for the first time this month. Read more
Economic chill returns
After a rebound in confidence last month, this week has been a reality check with more sobering economic news. October saw the culmination of big increases in the GDT auction and an improved Fonterra payout forecast. It also drove commodity prices up with the October ANZ Commodity Price Index up 6.9 percent. Read more
Draft region-wide water quantity rules update
Those with dairy sheds should be aware that Bay of Plenty Regional Council is developing new water quantity rules for the whole region. The current rules require dairy sheds taking more than 35m3/day groundwater or 15m3/day surface water (for milk cooling or wash-down) to already have a resource consent. Read more
New Grazing Agreement
Gear up for grazing with a new agreement that offers three in one. We have improved our existing (dry stock) grazing agreement and expanded it to cover both heifer and winter or seasonal grazing. Priced at just $80.50 for members, you’ll also get 15 minutes of free legal support from the Federated Farmers support hotline.Read more
Muddying the waters of progress
The Environment Aotearoa report left it to the reader to interpret the measurements of water quality – and the reader, inevitably, reacted emotively, writes Jacqueline Rowarth. The quality of water is a matter of perception. Science can measure the concentration of chemicals in water, the sediment load and the presence of bugs. Read more
Rotorua Science Presentation Evening for the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme
Presentations by Hannah Mueller, Dr Grant Tempero and Professor David Hamilton
Date: Tuesday 17 November, 6-8pm
Location: Energy Events Centre, Queens Drive, 
B+LNZ Mid-Northern North Island farmer council AGM and dinner
Hear from two New Zealanders who know the meaning of high performance at this free dinner.
Date: Wednesday 18 November 2015 4.30pm
Location: The Don Rowlands Centre, 601 Maungatautari Rd, Karapiro

A film by Christina Walker – “The Milkman’s Paradox”
About the film: As the water quality of Lake Rotorua changes, so changes the lives of its surrounding dairy farmers.
Date: Sunday 22 November 2015 6.30pm
Location: Novotel Hotel Rotorua

Tactics Field Day – Rotorua November 2015
Matt Newman, DairyNZ Senior Economist will lead the discussion on breakeven milk price.
Date: Thursday 26 November 2015
Location: 1557 S/H 30, Horohoro

Collective Executive Meeting
The Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective invites members to attend the monthly Executive meetings.
Date: Monday 7 December, 7-9pm
Location: Barclay House A&P Showgrounds

Would you like to become a member of the Collective?
Three reasons to get involved!

 1. Influence policy that will affect your farm business
 2. Learn about on-farm nutrient management solutions
 3. Get support from fellow farmers and industry bodies

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp