Farmers and landowners in the Taupo region can now trade nitrogen amongst themselves in a new online scheme.
Waikato Regional Council has set up an internet-based noticeboard to allow farmers to buy, sell or lease nitrogen within the region.
Livestock farming is a controlled activity in the Taupo catchment. As a result, each farm has a nitrogen discharge cap to control the amount of nitrogen leaching into the lake catchment, mostly in the form of effluent and fertilister run-off.
The rules are part of attempts by the regional council to improve the water quality of Lake Taupo.
The council says allowing farmers to trade nitrogen amongst themselves, gives them the flexibility to run their businesses.
Programme manager Natasha Hayward says they have the option of farming less intensively than their nitrogen cap allows, and sell any surplus nitrogen to others in the catchment who want to farm more intensively.
She says the market will determine what prices are paid for nitrogen.