6 Sep 2012

Manawatu farmers say ruling will increase their costs

10:13 am on 6 September 2012

Farmers in the Manawatu-Whanganui region say an Environment Court ruling on a new regional plan is going to make farming more costly and challenging.

The court has rejected appeals against the regional council's much-debated One Plan, mostly relating to measures to impose nutrient management rules on farmers and growers.

Federated Farmers' Manawatu president Andrew Hoggard says it means nutrient controls on dairy farms will be extended to cover all intensive farming operations including irrigated sheep and beef, cropping and market gardening.

Mr Hoggard says the plan also reintroduces the Land Use Capability (LUC) nitrogen targets, which classify soil types and limit the amount of nitrogen that can be leached into each type of soil.

He says more farms will be required to go through the consenting process.

Mr Hoggard says the Environment Court is leaving it up to the regional council to work out the details of how it applies the rules.

But he says the court has also recommended that the regional council should consider extending the nutrient target conditions in future to include all farming.

Environmental advocates, including the Green Party and Fish and Game, have welcomed the court's ruling on nutrient management and water protection measures.