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Regional Council supports pastoral farming conference

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 12:30 p.m.

Staff from Bay of Plenty Regional Council have today urged those working in the agribusiness sector to secure their future by putting existing knowledge and technology into practice more widely across the Bay of Plenty.

Regional Council Land Management Manager (Eastern) Simon Stokes, in his opening address to the New Zealand Grasslands Association conference held in Tauranga today, said for farming to be sustainable in the Bay of Plenty, sensitive pumice soils needed to be managed carefully to reduce the risk of erosion and nutrient loss.

“Improved farming practices and new technologies have been developed in recent years,” he said. “We all need to work together to embed that knowledge into daily practice so that farmers can make the most of the region’s limited pastoral land, while reducing topsoil loss and minimising impacts on water quality,” Mr Stokes said.

Mr Stokes said that the Regional Council sponsored the conference this year as it was a rare local opportunity to support the agricultural sector through the Grasslands Association.

“The conference programme covers many of the research topics and important issues that need attention in our region. It will help with the continuing development and adoption of sustainable farming practices,” he said.

Regional Council Senior Land Management Officer Daryl Hall also presented a paper at the conference about sensible farming on sensitive and steep land. In his presentation, Mr Hall outlined how the Regional Council is applying a catchment management approach to working with landowners in Tauranga harbour catchments to reduce erosion and sediment entering the harbour.

“Our research suggests that more than 63 percent of the sediment that washes into Tauranga Harbour each year comes from steep pastoral land. We’d like to reduce that, and can offer farmers financial assistance and practical advice to help them improve the way they manage land. Our main focus is on hill country and stream banks,” Mr Hall said.

ENDS

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