European farmers fear that a ban on glyphosate would see their crops taken over by deep-rooted weeds.

Glyphosate use in Europe has resulted in reassessments, reviews and bans in some countries, causing a backlash by farmers. The controversial herbicide is touted by NZ Professor of Toxicology Ian Shaw as a victim of its own success.

Less-gassy bulls

There may soon be another tool available to cut your climate footprint - select less-gassy bulls out of a catalogue.

Rock and a hard place

OPINION: Appease the Chinese and protect your export trade, like dairy products, or infuriate them and face sanctions.

Floating farm sinking?

OPINION: Two years ago, it was launched as the world's first floating platform housing a herd of cows and a dairy, and generated headlines around the world.

 
Bare-breasted milk protest

OPINION: The Australian dairy industry came under another attack last week - this time from bare-breasted People for the Ethical Treatment of the Animals (PETA) activists.

 
Jamie McFadden believes the Government's policy on FEPs is unprecedented state control over ordinary citizens.

Rural Advocacy Network chairman Jamie McFadden was a key speaker at the recent round of Groundswell NZ meetings. He spoke about the push for Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) and why these may not be the great cure-all many are claiming. Here is an edited version of the speech...

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims made about the latest farming fad - regenerative agriculture.

Quitters?

OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life once they leave the safety of the big dairy co-op.

Michael Blackwellis, chair of Waimakariri Water Zone Committee.

OPINION: When I started writing this piece, I was sitting in my Kaiapoi office on a sweltering 30-degree summer’s day, and I could hear faint “plops” as youngsters pulled “phat manus” and “bombs” off the bridge into the Kaiapoi River as generations before them have done.

Do they know that the river is deemed “unsuitable” for swimming with E. coli levels of up to 2,420 per 100ml? This information is available on LAWA’s website, Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) - Can I swim here? It makes for sobering reading. With levels this high, we should supply these youngsters with full PPE gear to wear over their shorts. The saddest fact is that this story is repeating itself from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

We are witnessing the systemic collapse of New Zealand’s freshwater systems as our environment can no longer handle the extreme pressure we have placed on it through decades of urban and rural intensification. We have taken too much from our environment and we must start giving back.

Change is coming with a renewed focus on healthy waterways through the National Policy for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM), which the Government announced in August 2020, as well as Plan Change 7 to the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan (PC7), which progressed through submissions and a hearing in front of independent hearing commissioners last year.

I attended the PC7 hearing in December and it boosted my spirits to observe the passion our community has for improving Waimakariri’s waterways. I hope the changes that come out of PC7 will be bold and far reaching.

The concept of Te Mana o te Wai underpins the NPS-FM and places the highest value on the health of freshwater systems. This philosophy is the new basis for how we, as a society, interact with our environment. The NPS-FM creates a framework for change, but we must also change how we think as council bodies, as communities, as businesses, and as individuals about how our systems/practices must shift from productive growth mode to sustainability mode, and how we can live within an acceptable environmental footprint. On an individual level, we need to realise how, over the long term, that wet paddock or riverbed block would benefit the planet if it were left to revert to a wetland or a more natural state.

This year the Waimakariri Water Zone Committee will focus on priority areas and working with the community to improve our waterways.

We will support change through three newlyformed catchment groups – the Sefton Saltwater Creek Catchment Group, the Landcare Working Group, and the Biodiversity Group.

We are ahead of the curve in Waimakariri in terms of engaging with farmers, waterway conservation groups and the wider community, but we still have a long journey ahead to restore our rivers and streams.

We must work together in a united way to leave our land and water for future generations to inherit in a better state than when we found it.

Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua - As man disappears from sight, the land remains.

Michael Blackwellis is chair of Waimakariri Water Zone Committee.

Our loss, Oz's gain

OPINION: While the Labour government has banned NZ livestock exports, worth up to $500 million annually, their Australian counterparts have no such intentions.

OPINION: The hype around veganism has exploded worldwide and many are reportedly flocking to join this trendy ethical and environmental movement.

OPINION: The Chinese owners of Australia’s biggest and oldest dairy farming business are facing scrutiny from authorities and all eyes are on Fonterra.

OPINION: Film director James Cameron is adamant that his plans to transform 1,500 hectares of land in South Wairarapa into an organic vegetable farm remain on track.

Once a year, when capsicum prices bottom out (which means they’re at their freshest best) I make the Big Dipper, a kick-ass mix of red capsicum, cashew nuts, garlic and olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. 

OPINION:Always having a bit of a soft spot for the underdog, I have to admit I enjoyed seeing the Highlanders get one back on the Crusaders.

Your old mate is not surprised to learn that Hollywood director James Cameron's big claims to convert his Wairarapa properties into organic veggie farms have fallen short.

A mate of the Hound reckons he's not surprised by the recent announcement the Government is 'partnering' with Lincoln-based company Leaft Foods on a $20 million R&D programme in the alternative protein sector.

OPINION: This old mutt reckons that Fonterra must be learning its PR tricks from the Government.

OPINION: The Hound was intrigued to read about a project that NZ scientists are working on to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) produced from sheep by encouraging the animals to empty their bladders at night!

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The Hound

Bad company

The Hound is among many in the agriculture sector, including many of our top scientists, who are somewhat cynical claims…

Quitters?

OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life…

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