Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
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July 2016 
Dear <<First Name>>
Dairy farmers will be counting down sleeps until calving starts, all the best for a successful start to the season. This month we focus on PC10 submissions and the next phase of the process, two new farm trials and celebrating the achievements of one of our own - Neil Heather.
You'll note our e-news is now bimonthly with the next issue out in September. Happy reading! Remember, everything you read here is on our website -

AGM Update

At the recent Collective AGM the Executive were welcomed back and the office holders were unchanged. Special thanks were given to Gisele Schweizer and Neil Heather as Co-Chairs and Chris Paterson as Secretary for their tireless work undertaken on behalf of members during the last twelve months.

The Memorandum of Understanding, agreed by the Regional Direction and Delivery Committee on 23 June, is a success story for the Collective. It effectively tightens up the Oturoa Agreement and ensures that the promised science reviews will take place every 5 years starting in 2017. In addition, it ensures that the Collective will have input into the terms of reference of these science reviews; that from 2022 onwards, the economic, social and cultural implications of the rules will also be considered alongside the science reviews; and perhaps most importantly, that any changes to statutory nutrient targets and reduction requirements that are signalled as necessary by the reviews will be carried out expeditiously.

Collective members were given a break from the usual AGM business to hear a very informative presentation by Bert Quin & Geoff Bates from ‘Pastoral Robotics Ltd’, a company that has developed Spikey® - a urine patch detection machine. The company’s objective was to find a Rotorua dairy farmer willing to participate in on-farm trial work with Spikey®. Six catchment farmers put their hands up to participate in the trial.

Also at the AGM, the Collective executive encouraged members to get started on the process of developing a Nitrogen Management Plan if they hadn’t already done so in order to utilise the funding that the Council has made available for this purpose. We encourage you to be as fully informed as possible about how these rules will affect you and your business.

From Gisele Schweizer, Co-Chair of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective
Next steps in the submissions process

Summaries of all submissions received by BOPRC have now been completed and can be found here. The summary documents are long but worth reading if you can find time between now and calving or other work around the farm.

The three most significant topics raised with the initial submissions include the use of alum dosing as a long-term solution to water quality issues, concerns around the science used to set water quality targets, and the potential use of alternative regulatory methods rather than the proposed rules and requirements.

1. Further Submissions Period
There is still time to have a say on the proposed Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management rules, with a further submission phase now kicking in -  4 July until 1 August.  Further submissions must identify points made in previous submissions. Remember to indicate on your submission whether you'd like to speak to your submission at the Public Hearings. A template for further submissions can be found here.

We'll keep you up-to-date with the direction of our next submission once we've assessed  the other submitters' viewpoints. You’ll  find the Collective and Federated Farmers original submissions here.

2. Public Hearings
The hearings are still scheduled to commence in and be completed by the end of November. Four independent commissioners have been appointed to the Hearing Panel. The appointed commissioners are Judge Gordon Whiting; who will chair the hearings, Gina Sweetman, Rauru Kirikiri and Dr Brent Cowie. These commissioners are from around New Zealand and have experience and knowledge on freshwater issues.

The commissioners will inform Council of their availability during November and how they see the hearings being run. This will determine the time required for the hearing process. Each of the Commissioners are very aware that this is a political and emotional topic for the community and will make sure that the hearing process reflects that.  
Fed Farmers honour Rotorua farmer Neil Heather

Federated Farmers unveiled six winners at its inaugural National Conference Awards in Wellington last week. Taking out the Outstanding Advocacy Award, Neil  was acknowledged for his positive and collaborative reputation as an influencer and leader with farmers and local councils alike.

"Neil is a tireless advocate for farmers. He makes sure farming has a voice especially when it comes to council policy, regulation and rates," said Dr Rolleston, President of Federated Farmers.

Neil's modesty and strong belief in the value of collaborative teamwork comes through strongly in his acceptance speech.

"I appreciate the recognition in receiving this Outstanding Advocacy Award. I admit I was a bit surprised when I learned about my nomination.  I am sure that every other nominee for this award was as capable if not more, of winning. Thank you to everyone that submitted a letter of support in my favour." Read more
Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund - Update

A total of 27 compliant applications were received in the Expressions of Interest phase of the funding allocation with most (24) submitting full applications in the second part of the process that closed on 30th June.

These 24 applications cover a broad range of topics from management and technology improvements in dairy farming, to horticulture, new land uses and modelling tools to support decision making. 

From here the applications will go to the assessment panel. This panel has been drawn from the Land Technical Advisory Group with John Paterson, our Sustainable Farming Advisor, also providing catchment knowledge and advice.   

The criteria for assessment was established last year in consultation with StAG and other stakeholders and approved earlier this year by Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group (RTALSG). 

A critical component of the applications is ensuring they are focused on our catchment goals and supported by land owners. Some applicants have already discussed their ideas with the Collective. 

Recommendations from the assessment panel will be put forward to partners (BOPRC, Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust) with final decisions by RTALSG on 30th August 2016. 

Anna Grayling, Principal Advisor, Rotorua Catchments
High Rainfall OVERSEER calibration trials underway

Two OVERSEER calibration trials commenced in April this year, both on dairy farms owned by Collective members. One trial is on a pumice soil and the other is on a podzol soil.

The trials will run for three years and are being managed by Dr Stewart Ledgard from AgResearch. Project funding is from BOPRC, DairyNZ and AgResearch itself.

Each trial includes over 100 ‘suction cup samplers’ which are buried 60 cm below the soil surface. These devices are used to sample water as it moves down the soil profile, carrying nitrogen with it. 

“It’s really exciting to have this research underway. The need for this trial work has been identified by farmers and supported by the LandTAG. As a result AgResearch approached us with initial funding to establish the trials.  Having two trial sites will help us understand nitrogen leaching under high rainfall conditions.  It’s also great to have industry support from DairyNZ and AgResearch” says Andy Bruere, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Lakes Operation Manager.   Read more
Rates increase set to become official
Rotorua Lakes Council is expected to sign off on its Annual Plan and officially set its rates increase for the coming year.  Rates for rural residential properties will see the largest increase of between 4.6 per cent and 7.5 per cent. Read more
No need for Southland farmers to fear freshwater rule changes
Rabobank's Farm Systems Manager Blake Holgate spoke about adapting to a changing environment at the South Island Dairy Event in Invercargill. "Dairy farmers don’t need to fear potential changes to freshwater management, but they do need to make sure they have a good understanding of what might happen" Read more
Maori vow to oppose plan to pump treated effluent into lake
A $29 million plan to discharge treated effluent into Lake Rotorua could move a step closer today – but some local Maori are not happy and are vowing to fight.The plan to upgrade Rotorua’s Wastewater Treatment Plant – which includes discharging treated effluent into Lake Rotorua – is to be voted on at the  Rotorua Lakes Council Committee meeting. Read more

Have you heard about DairyNZ’s new Roster Builder tool?
Learn how to create farm rosters quickly and easily, whether you are a team of 2 or 10+ Click here to register
Date: Tuesday 19 July
Venue:  Confirmed at registration
PC10 - Further submission period closes
Further submissions are now open for PC 10. (4th July - 1 August)
Dates:  Monday 1 August 2016, 4pm
AWDT 'Understanding your farming business' course for women
Engaging women as critical farming partners through building business knowledge, skills and confidence. Click here to register
Dates: 31 Aug; 12 Sept, 12 Oct, 2 Nov (4 full-day workshops)
Location: TBC       Cost - FREE

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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