Over the last few years, the farming sector has increasingly come under pressure to become a more sustainable industry. Many don’t realise that there are a number of regulations and protocols already in place to future-proof our industry, however there are ways that farmers can go above and beyond what’s required; choosing ways to protect their investments, save on costs in the long-run and promote biodiversity across their land. Let’s take a look at a few different options that can assist in key areas.
When it comes to grazing for any stock, the right crop is necessary to ensure they’re healthy, producing milk for example, and maintaining their weight, at all times. And when it comes to crops themselves, there are a some which are better suited to the environment than others. Take Kale and Fodderbeet, for example. While both serve the same purpose in providing energy and nutrients, beets have a sugar-rich bulb and therefore leach far less nitrogen into the soil. As any dairy or beef farmer knows, nitrogen leaching is a major factor that needs to be mitigated, so be sure to speak with your seed dealer to discuss your options.
When it comes to successfully growing crops and maintaining productive pastures, the weather can be the single biggest factor in that success. Reliable irrigation can help prevent crop and pasture damage due to a drought, but irrigation is not an option in all of the country. When the weather turns wet pasture damage due to pugging can be the result. Utilised correctly, a wintering shed not only shelters your stock during hot summers and cold winters, but they can also save your pastures from pugging damage. To learn more about our wintering sheds and their benefits, follow these links.
Investing in wind or solar power are two options that may allow you to become increasingly self-sufficient on your farm, however, the setup costs can be significant, so they aren’t suitable for every farm. Finding the best locations to install these systems is the trickiest part other than the upfront cost, but your shed roof, for example, maybe suitable for adding solar panels. As technology continues to advance, these systems will only get cheaper, future developments are worth keeping an eye on.
Did you know that the government has a fund setup for projects that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to New Zealand? The Ministry of Primary Industry’s Sustainable Farming Fund invests in research projects and initiatives that are led by farmers, growers and foresters to future-proof our industries. Projects include anything from reducing sediment loss after winter grazing to the impact of fodder beet on stock and anyone can apply. Check their website for information on projects that may benefit your farm or to apply if you have a sustainability project in mind.