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Eutrophication. Lakes and estuaries can be described by their nutrient status.

Eutrophication

The trophic status of a lake or estuary refers to the primary productivity (amount of algae) produced in the water and the amount of nutrients (P and N) in the water. Oligotrophic waters usually have low primary productivity (high water quality and few algae) and are nutrient poor, while eutrophic waters have high primary productivity (low water quality and frequent algal blooms) due to excessive nutrients. Mesotrophic waters lie somewhere in between the two states. Eutrophication is an increase in the nutrients available in a waterbody which can subsequently increase primary productivity and degrade water quality, leading to a reduction in mahinga kai habitat and survival.

Eutrophication. Farming and environmental pollution. New Zealand has had a reputation for being ‘clean and green’ – a country of environmental beauty.

Farming and environmental pollution

Compared to many countries in the world, this is true. However, it’s becoming apparent that New Zealand has an environmental pollution problem. An OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report (2007) describes deterioration in water and air quality in New Zealand – due, in part, to agriculture. Fonterra climate change. A diary farm is not greenhouse gas neutral. New Zealand farming and climate change.

How dairy farms contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. U.S.

How dairy farms contribute to greenhouse gas emissions

Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have produced the first detailed data on how large-scale dairy facilities contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. This research was conducted by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the ARS Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory in Kimberly, Idaho. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and these studies support the USDA priority of responding to climate change. ARS soil scientist April Leytem led the year-long project, which involved monitoring the emissions of ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from a commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows in southern Idaho. The facility had 20 open-lot pens, two milking parlors, a hospital barn, a maternity barn, a manure solid separator, a 25-acre wastewater storage pond and a 25-acre compost yard.

6. – Farming and the environment. Loss of biodiversity Many of New Zealand’s tens of thousands of native species are not found anywhere else in the world.

6. – Farming and the environment

More than 50 species of bird are known to have become extinct since the arrival of humans, and an unknown number of invertebrate animals and plants have also been lost and continue to decline. In 2007 there were 2,788 species (including birds, bats, fish and plants) listed as threatened. The establishment and expansion of farms, orchards, and vineyards – with their exotic plants and animals – have been key drivers of the land clearance and changing patterns of habitat that have led to diminishing biodiversity.

Agricultural activities destroy the habitats of some species and create habitats for other, usually introduced, species. Building biodiversity Proponents of organic farming believe that a holistic approach to production, and not using synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, will benefit not only consumers of organic produce, but also the farm environment. Reducing agricultural air pollution risks. Dairy Farming and Air. Pugging and compaction. Pugging and compaction leave soils less productive.

Pugging and compaction

High stock densities combined with prolonged rainfall leave Waikato region soils vulnerable to pugging and compaction. This can be minimised by careful stock and land management. On this page: What is pugging? Soil Compaction and Pugging on Dairy Farms. Water conservation & Effluent Management. Managing farm nutrients. Managing nutrients carefully can save you money and improve farm decision-making.

Managing farm nutrients

Together with soil test results, you can use a nutrient budget to assess farm fertiliser requirements, targeting nutrients where you most need them. Better nutrient management will also reduce fertiliser losses to waterways, protecting water quality and stream life. On this page: Nutrient budgets can save you money, All about nutrient budgets, Nutrient budgets made easy, Find out more The average dairy farm has about $425,000 worth of nutrients in its topsoil. A nutrient budget can help you use fertiliser efficiently and save you money. Fertiliser is the largest expense for many farm businesses. Around 30 percent of North Island dairy farms have twice the level of soil nutrients needed for pasture growth. Nutrient budgets are like financial budgets. A nutrient budget allows you to identify nutrient inputs to the farm, such as:

Fertiliser use and the environment Aug06. Agricultural greenhouse gases. Measuring methane emissions from flocks of free-ranging sheep.

Agricultural greenhouse gases

Image - F Kellihier. Dairy farming and water. 2. Protecting soil from stock damage. Herd homes, feed pads and stand-off pads.

Protecting soil from stock damage

Why protect your soil? Soil structural damage can reduce pasture and crop yields and restoring structure can be an expensive and lengthy process. Under certain conditions, stock can cause significant damage. Pugging is caused by stock when soil is so soft that hooves sink into it, compacting the soil and creating an uneven surface. Pugging is especially bad when the ground is wet after prolonged rain or irrigation and can be made worse by intensive stocking. What are the benefits of protecting your soil? Stock damage to soil is reduced, protecting the physical structure of the soil during wet periods. Herd homes, stand-off pads and feed pads help to prevent or minimise soil structural damage by stock.

Herd homes are barns used to house and feed cows. Feed pads are generally separate hard surface areas, used specifically for feeding stock supplements from racks or bins. Minimising muck, maximising money: Environmental considerations Did you know?