How are we doing it?
There is a risk that nutrient run-off from farms into streams can threaten the health of New Zealand farms and the wider environment. Poorly managed fertiliser application has led to nitrogen and phosphate contamination – spreading locally and further downstream – causing algal blooms that starve waterways of oxygen affecting entire ecosystems. Our Sustainability Manager, Warren Landles, has started a programme to tackle this issue on all of Craigmore’s farms.
Firstly, we have begun the planting of vegetation around the farms’ riparian zones. This principally acts as a barrier against nutrient run-off into streams. It also limits the accessibility of stock to the waterways preventing bank erosion, with the roots helping to stabilise the banks, and thereby reducing stream sedimentation. Finally, by increasing the native biodiversity it provides a great sense of place and a belonging on-farm, which supplements our wider programme of re-vegetating our non-productive areas of land with native species.
Secondly, we use the Overseer farm modelling tool to manage the application of nutrients. This calculates nutrient budgets, and estimates the quantity of fertiliser to apply to maximise on-farm productivity , which in the case of dairy is to maximise pasture growth, while minimising nutrient run-off into the streams.
Our approach encompasses the social, environmental and financial aspects of our sustainability principles.