Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Farmers have been ’brainwashed’


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The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ recently released a damning report showing increasing nitrogen and phosphorus in a percentage of NZ rivers.

Surprise surprise.

The clean rivers plan, which is sweeping the country, is to drastically reduce nitrogen applications on-farm based on historical data. Farmers hell bent on trying to mitigate too many changes in management in future will be looking at management now to alter that data.

It doesnt take a rocket scientist to deduct that one such tool would be to drastically increase nitrogen use now therefore boosting historical data, which will be used to determine their future allocation.

This whole scandal has arisen because farmers have been brainwashed into thinking that urea grows grass and that profitability will drop correspondingly as that nitrogen is reduced.

Common sense

This new Environmental Report is calling for a drastic reduction in cow numbers, which would be akin to the idea of drastically reducing cars to cut the road toll.

Some common sense is needed here and I would hate to see people with this line of thinking being able to determine the direction of our farming future.

It sickens me to see the culprits of this whole probem of excess nitrates and phosphorus in our rivers have never been called to account.

I’m not talking about farmers here, although they are the ones copping the flak.

I’m talking about the major NPK – or nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – fertiliser companies who sell 90 per cent of the phosphorus and nitrogen in NZ and have been doing so for the last 20-plus years.

NZ farmers have been brainwashed into thinking all this phosphate and nitrogen is needed to be profitable.

Environmental alarmists

Have the environmental alarmists ever stopped to think these major fertiliser companies have become billion-dollar industries from propoganda to push the sales of the very products these guys make?

They have assumed the responsibility to educate students attending NZ educational intitutions into the NPK propoganda machine, who then go out and advise farmers to push it on.

The sooner the proponents of environmental improvement refocus on the cause, the faster these challenges will be faced.

There are great changes beginning where farmers are utilising real science rather than following the NPK accepted principals which grow grass but don’t strictly follow scientific principals.

There is accurate data and case studies demonstrating amazing results including better animal health, higher production and higher profit with as little as 80kg/ha of N applied, which is the sort of targets we should be seeking. General farmer usage would be around 200kg/ha N to 250kg/ha N.

Way forward

Education is the best way forward rather than the threat of enforcement of more rules and reduction of our great farming future. This education has got to start with the consultants, who are talking to farmers and giving them the advice.

Consultants are the very people who can affect farmers’ change because they are who farmers trust and seek advise from.

Currently, this radical change to drastically reduce nitrogen and phosphate use unnecessarily is coming from farmers who are entrepenuers and can think outside the square. These very farmers have gone out of their way to re-educate themselves and have found a better path.

The biggest challenge to this change is coming from their trusty consultants, who put doubt into this new path.

If farmers and consultants feel challenged to act, please contact me.

David Law, Forward Farming, 0274 909896.


 
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