Research-Brief-Assessing-the-effectiveness-of-on-farm-mitigation-actions.pdf (7.88 MB)

Assessing the Effectiveness of On-Farm Mitigation Actions

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posted on 2024-06-21, 03:56 authored by Annabel McAleerAnnabel McAleer
This research summary describes how effective on-farm mitigations have been so far, by comparing losses of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sediment in 1995 and 2015. It also models what would be possible for future water quality in 2035 if every farm in New Zealand adopted every known mitigation. This information is crucial to helping farmers in degraded catchments decide whether to continue investing in mitigation actions or consider making changes to land use or land-use intensity. Key points:
  • Our rivers would be in much worse condition today if farmers had not adopted better practices between 1995 and 2015.
  • Significantly more nitrogen (45% more) and phosphorus (98% more) would have entered rivers from dairy-farmed land between 1995 and 2015 if farmers hadn't changed their practices.
  • On sheep and beef farmed land, 30% more sediment would have entered rivers between 1995 and 2015 if farmers hadn't their practices.
  • Researchers estimated that if all known and developing mitigation actions were implemented by all dairy and sheep and beef farmers by 2035, potential loads of nitrogen and phosphorus entering rivers might decrease by one-third, and sediment by two-thirds, compared to 2015. For many catchments, this will be enough to meet current water quality objectives.
Research Findings Brief prepared by Our Land and Water


Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Sources and Flows


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  • English

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