A group of dairy farmers in southern Manawatu are taking a proactive approach to dealing with facial eczema (FE) in the coming months.
“This is something all dairy farmers would be appalled to hear has taken place,’ says DairyNZ strategy and investment leader, Dr Jenny Jago.
“There is no excuse for a farmer not being able to prevent this and it is distressing to hear that the poor performance of a farmer has impacted on a community facility and children. It’s not good enough and we fully empathise with the community concerned,”
“We don’t accept poor winter grazing practices and much work has been taking place to address the issue to protect animal welfare and the environment. Impacting on community facilities is another issue altogether and clearly unacceptable.”
Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips says this week its compliance team was called to an incident where winter grazing runoff affected the Longbush Kindergarten, forcing it to close. A clean-up has been undertaken.
“Our staff have been out to the kindergarten and, although there is no evidence of waterway contamination, mud and sediment has washed through the grounds of the facility from an adjoining paddock.
“We are working with the kindergarten and the farm manager to resolve the situation and a full investigation is underway. An abatement notice has been issued to ensure the farmer stops the runoff onto the property immediately.”
Phillips says farmers need to understand that they must use good management practice for all winter grazing, including using portable water troughs and back fences to prevent cows going back into already grazed areas, as well as carefully managing critical source areas.
“It is simply unacceptable for runoff to impact on neighbours or waterways and it is the farmers’ responsibility to ensure this does not happen.”
Jago says DairyNZ has been clear with farmers that poor performance around winter grazing is not good enough – farmers who aren’t lifting their game really need to take heed of this and give greater thought to practices on their farms and follow good practice.
“We understand this is being treated as a compliance issue by Environment Southland and that they are working with the farmer.
“While much work has been taking place to address poor winter grazing practices and the farming sector feels progress has been made, there is clearly still work to be done, particularly for some.
“The vast majority of farmers take great pride in caring for their animals and the environment.”
Advice and information is available for all farmers via dairynz.co.nz/wintering or ph 0800 324 7969