Opinion: Farmers need science

By Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo dairy chairperson Colin Guyton

Photo / File
Photo / File

Science is key with many of the problems coming our way, from climate change to water quality writes Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo dairy chairperson Colin Guyton.

Science is the best tool we have locally to help our community manage groundwater impacted by farming activities.

Lately the skies of the Waiotapu Stream catchment have been filled with the sounds of a helicopter as the team on board conduct an electromagnetic survey of the shallow subsurface.

The survey is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funded research programme to find out information about the soil and how and at what rate nitrate leaks through it.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

This is a brilliant move.

It means we're not walking around in the dark and we will have real information created to form policy and farm management policies on what levels of nitrogen are making it into the water catchment.

There is not enough data as is. At the moment the information is not ideal, and we run the risk of having environmental policy created that might not make a difference at all.

In a best-case scenario, it does nothing but in a worst-case scenario the policy impedes development.

This science will let us, as a community, better understand what is happening to leached nutrients once they leave the root zone of a plant.

Science is key with many of the problems coming our way from climate change to water quality.

I believe the research project used our area here in the Waitapu catchment because Lincoln agri has been studying the ground water through a series of bores for the last five years looking at nitrogen and other elements.

Federated Farmers is a farming advocacy group that believes in science-based policy.

The more accurate data a council or government department has the better, especially if that information is publicly available.

Farmers are always pro-science – even if the facts aren't what we want to hear.

Being armed with information means we can better plan our operations, especially as management issues around water heat up and climate change begins to make itself felt even more.

At least with science-backed information we know what we are doing.

- The Country

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