Water quality in the Waikato Region is highly variable, despite ongoing efforts from farmers, iwi, industry, local government and other stakeholders in the region. Intensive farming is a major contributor to areas of poor water quality. Levels of nitrogen in the region’s waterways have been rising slowly but steadily over the last 20 years. Nitrogen in groundwater can take decades to emerge into surface water. Hence, this indicator of water quality will worsen before it improves. Levels of micro-organisms are moderate to high, but stable. Sediment levels are high in places, and phosphorus levels vary. Menus of good practice to improve water quality arose from direct requests by farmers and have been developed by collaborative effort between the Waikato Regional Council, research and industry bodies. They provide farmers and consultants with a decision support tool that is both scientifically rigorous, and flexible enough to meet the needs of individual farmers’ circumstances by providing an objective assessment of the relative benefits of a range of practices for their mitigation of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and bacterial discharges from farms. The procedures can also be used as a contribution to the review of the current Regional Plan.

R, Abercrombie

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 74, Napier, 250-253, 2014
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