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Northland Farm Environment Plan workshops a success

17 August 2021

Northern Wairoa kumara growers recently took part in Farm Environment Plan workshops in July and August. Kumara growers covered a lot of ground, from soil conservation and erosion and sediment control to nutrient, irrigation and biodiversity management. Growers are using the NZGAP Environment Management System (EMS) add-on to develop and implement their farm plan.

On 11 August, growers met on site to discuss how growing kumara in rotation with animals can help improve soil health, and to discuss the range of practices available to minimise erosion and sediment loss from flat cultivated land.

Photo: Andrew Barber from Agrilink leading a discussion with growers on soil management and conservation. Northland Regional Council and Kaipara District Council were also present.

“Kumara don’t like wet feet,” says Andre De Bruin, a grower and executive committee member of the Northern Wairoa Vegetable Growers Association. The use of subsurface tile drains is common across this kumara growing land, and these tile drains discharge to farm drains, that are often part of local flood control schemes. These schemes are necessary to move drainage and stormwater through this flat and low-lying landscape.

Northland Regional Council attended the workshops and were encouraging of industry and growers actively engaging in this process, despite no regional requirement for growers to have farm plans. Being proactive is giving these growers a head start for the changes to come.  

Growers will continue to develop their Farm Environment Plans, assessing risks to freshwater specific to their growing operations, and choosing appropriate practices to manage their risks, within timeframes specified in their action plans.