Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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Collective Update March 2015

Hello <<First Name>>

It's been great to see a little bit of rain on the paddocks. Hopefully this will reduce reliance on supplementary feeding. This month we take a look at latest from the SFF field trials at Parekarangi and keep you up to date with the latest news and events in and around the catchment. 

Remember much of what you will read in these monthly Collective Updates is from our website.
From the chair 
It was great to see some of you at the SFF (Sustainable Farming Fund) field day at Parekarangi Trust farm earlier this week. As well as the latest results of the on-farm nitrogen trials (covered below), we heard about a range of trials and on-farm practices for reducing N loss.  For instance, the DairyNZ-led "Forages for reduced nitrogen leaching" programme is comparing plantain and chicory with conventional ryegrass-clover pastures. A more unusual trial is giving cows a daily dose of salt to increase water intake and dilute the urine nitrogen. Oliver Knowles from Ballance gave us a run-down on their latest tools: N-Guru which can help farmers determine the optimum zones for N fertiliser application; and "MitAgator" which will identify high risk areas for nitrogen and phosphorus loss. Duncan Walker from Perrin Ag presented a case study assessing the effects on profit from nil N fertiliser use. Gerard Horgan (MPI) also welcomed applications for further SFF projects from within the catchment. All good stuff.  

At the February Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting, we finally saw some interim economic modelling on the draft rules. There were some useful comparisons of different nitrogen allocation options. One key finding was the potential of farmer-to-farmer N trading to reduce the overall costs of meeting farm nitrogen targets.

The Collective's leadership is about to review our strategic direction. I'd like to hear what you think we should be doing 'more of' and 'less of'. A meeting with Collective members will be organised soon. I believe that representing the views and needs of our members is at the heart of what we do now and into the future.

From Stuart Morrison, Chairman Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Farming without N fertiliser? Local trial results
The final field day for the Collective’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project was held at Parekarangi Trust Farm on Tuesday 3 March.The forty attendees, including dairy farmers and rural professionals, heard from Stewart Ledgard (AgResearch soil scientist) on the latest results from the 3-year nitrogen fertiliser trial. 
  
These field trials assess the effects of standard, "strategic" (low) and nil N fertiliser use on dairy farms. Stewart Ledgard acknowledged that while there has been a large amount of research into the effects of nitrogen on freshwater “there is much less science to help inform farmers about reducing nitrogen inputs and the long term impacts of this on pasture and the wider farm system”.  

The latest results indicate that while the strategic and nil N fertiliser plots grew less dry matter, the pasture quality was similar to the standard fertiliser plots, with little indication yet of reversion to low productivity grasses in the strategic and nil N treatments. Read more. 


Land Use Advice and Support service launched
Landowners in the Lake Rotorua catchment now have access to funded expert advice for investigating lower N-loss farming practices, business planning and the development of Nitrogen Management Plans. These plans will show how a specific property will progress towards its Nitrogen Discharge Allowance (NDA) anticipated by the draft rules, or possibly sell Nitrogen allocation to the Incentives Scheme.

Rosemary Cross, BOPRC's newly appointed 'Team Leader – Land Resources', will manage the Land Use Advice and Support service. Rosemary says "The Regional Council recognises that it is a challenge for farmers to understand their nitrogen loss and what can be done to reduce those losses. The $2.2 million dollar funds the service with independent Land Use Advisors who will work alongside farmers. We know that the rules and NDA system are still being developed but felt it was important to get the advice service underway in preparation for the new nitrogen rules”.
 
To access the Land Use Advice and Support service, please contact the Regional Council on 0800 884 880 or email  adviceandsupport@rotorualakes.co.nz. Or you view the information flyer here.
Introducing Stephen Lamb
I moved to Whakatāne from Wellington to raise my kids in the Bay of Plenty and joined the Bay of Plenty Regional Council around 10 years ago. My current role is Acting Water Policy Manager, replacing Sarah Omundsen. This position deals with statutory and non-statutory policy for water. Specifically this covers the Lake Rotorua nutrient rules and any rule frameworks for the other lakes, plus water allocation and implementation of the Government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater.
 
As you know, we are in the process of developing nitrogen rules for the Lake Rotorua catchment – alongside the section 32 analysis. StAG is being asked to make recommendations on the rules including the nitrogen allocation method. We've had some delays in the economic modelling work and now expect the rules to be notified by the end of June 2015.
 
For more information about the draft nitrogen rules, you can visit www.rotorualakes.co.nz or phone 0800 884 880
On the farm
Meet James Warbrick: Parekarangi Trust Farm
It wasn’t long after winning the prestigious ‘Ahuwhenua Drystock Farmer of the Year Award’ in 1989 that Parekarangi Trust farm  made the switch to dairy farming. Today Parekarangi farms 665 hectares of land about 10 kilometres south of Rotorua. This includes a 355 hectare dairy unit milking 1,100 cows, and a 246 hectare dry stock unit.

James has been the chair of Parekarangi since 1990.
He is also Project and Maintenance Supervisor for Whakarewarewa Living Village Tours. Juggling time between both roles is a challenge he enjoys. Read more
News in brief
Rotorua station award winner
John and Catherine Ford from Highland Station Rotorua are winners of the supreme title in the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Their 1240 ha sheep and beef property, was acknowledged for having an excellent understanding of water dynamics, both above and below the ground. Read more
 
Better compliance with dairy effluent rules
Bay of Plenty farmers are doing better in complying with dairy effluent rules. A 2014 survey of compliance on dairy farms showed improved compliance levels, and no incidents were considered serious enough to warrant taking a prosecution.The Council monitored 290 dairy discharge consents during late 2014, with three quarters complying and another 17 percent with low-risk non-compliance. Read more
 
Mass confusion over changes to lake rules
At the end of last year, more than 300 submissions were made to the regional council regarding the draft rules aimed at limiting the amount of nitrate seeping into Lake Rotorua. As a result,properties under 10ha will no longer be required to apply for a resource consent. Read more
Events
Lakes Water Quality Society Symposium
‘Lake Weed and Wallabies’
The symposium will have two themes: dealing with lake weed, and the problem of animal pests in forested lake catchments. You'll find the full programme here
12 - 13 March, Sir Howard Morrison Performing Art Centre, Rotorua
2015 Effluent Expo
Now in its fifth year, the Effluent Expo is a one-stop-shop for high quality information about effluent management solutions.
For inquiries please contact Effluent.Expo@waikatoregion.govt.nz 
Tuesday 17 March, Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton
Stakeholder Advisory Group (StAG) March
Check out the latest on nitrogen policy and incentives scheme. All welcome! 
For StAG meeting agenda minutes, reports and documents click here.
Tuesday 17 March, 11am - 1:30pm,  Rotorua Lakes Council
‘More than just a Number’ – Dairy Women’s Network
Dairy Women’s Network, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Dairy NZ, Fonterra, Tatua, Miraka, Synlait have teamed up to bring you an event that will help you understand your farm Nitrogen Report and what factors influence those numbers. Register at www.dwn.co.nz or 0800 396748
Thursday 26 March, Wairekei Resort, Taupo
Ballance Farm Environment Awards: Supreme winners field day
Join John and Catherine Ford at Highland Station to find out why their farm won the Bay of Plenty supreme award at the recent 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Please RSVP by emailing Kirsten Winter by 25 March or call her on 0275 721 244.
Tuesday 31 March, 10am - 3pm, 171 Highlands Rd, Rotorua 
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
  

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