The DairyNZ Sustainable Milk Plan (SMP) was launched at a recent discussion day held at Stuart Morrison’s farm on Oturoa Rd last month, with a few farmers already starting the process. The aim is to provide all dairy farmers in the Rotorua Lakes catchment with free, one-one-one advice to enable farmers to prioritise their existing and proposed activities into one, simple document.
Sustainable Milk Plans were initially developed for use in the Upper Waikato catchment, which is the largest environmental good-practice project ever undertaken by the dairy industry. To date 590 Sustainable milk plans have been completed.
A DairyNZ Sustainable Milk Plan is a brief action plan which outlines the steps to be taken, on-farm, to contribute towards reductions in nutrient and sediment loads, as well as improve water use efficiency on farm.
Adrian Brocksopp, DairyNZ’s Catchment Engagement Leader says “This method works because the actions are customised to the farm and the farmer – and they can see how it will work for their own individual situation.
“All farmers seem to get a light bulb moment at some point through the process, where they can see there is something that they can complete to help reduce their impact on the environment. No matter how big or small their actions are they all contribute to improving water quality or reducing risk or improving profitability. Add all the actions of all dairy farmers in the catchment and that will be a significant amount of farmer activity” says Brocksopp
The process will allow farmers to carry out a baseline assessment of their current farm practices, acknowledge their achievements to date and provide a plan for potential accelerated farmer action.
Stuart Morrison has had the privilege of completing the Sustainable Milk Plan and found that it was very beneficial in helping him achieve his Nitrogen loss goals while maintaining a productive farm.
Perrin Ag and AgFirst have been contracted to help guide participating farmers through the Sustainable Milk Plan process. Both consultants have been involved in completing Sustainable Milk Plans in the Upper Waikato Catchment over the past two years.
The project will also help demonstrate to policy makers and to the wider community the collective commitment of farmers to responsible dairying and improved water quality in the Rotorua Lakes Catchment.
Involvement in the project is voluntary but strongly recommended. Being involved will help you to be better prepared for future regulatory change. If you have not already signed up please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.