27 Nov 2008

Federated Farmers disputes findings on farm effluent

1:31 pm on 27 November 2008

[]b] Federated Farmers is challenging a report by the Canterbury Regional Council which shows little improvement in handling the disposal of dairy shed effluent in the region.

The report summarises the results of monitoring effluent management on about 700 dairy farms, from Kaikoura to Waitaki during the past season, which ended in May.

Almost 46% of the farms surveyed fully complied with their consent conditions for discharging effluent to land. That compares with under 40% the previous season.

About a third of the farms had minor breaches, but 20% had significant or major issues of non-compliance, which was a slight increase on the 2006-7 season.

The main causes of non-compliance were machinery failures and changes in management or new people on dairy farms unaware of their full consent responsibilities.

The regional council says there has been little significant change in compliance rates over the past five seasons.

Federation's view

However, Federated Farmers says the report does not take account of improvements in dairy farm compliance since the survey was done.

It also questions why more than 50 of the farms with significant non-compliance issues were not re-inspected by the regional council.

Mid Canterbury chairman Dean McConnell says the council is likely to find many of those now also comply with effluent discharge conditions.