The Professor of Agribusiness at Waikato University says dairy farmers are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with environmental compliance because the requirements are so confusing.
Dr Jacqueline Rowarth says the Resource Management Act and land and water standards are not that clear when it comes to environmental systems on farms.
To add to the confusion, she says, the interpretation of the rules tends to vary from region to region.
"So the regional councils are interpreting the potential regulations one way, Fonterra has theories, as does DairyNZ, and the poor old farmer is looking at three different types of advice and thinking 'What do I do?'"
Dr Rowarth says no one really knows. "No one is saying if you do this then you will be compliant for the next ten years, because that is the problem with the future, it is very difficult to predict".