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Effluent and Nitrate Run-off

The following story appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today. It may have relevance in our battle against the ravages of 'dirty dairying'.

A $7.6 million plan to slash toxic run-off from farms along the central and north Queensland coast has been hailed as a win for both farmers and the Great Barrier Reef.

The state government is to fund more than 30 research and support projects to help farmers from Mackay to Cooktown cut chemical run-off and soil erosion flowing into the ocean and killing coral.

The projects are expected to boost farm profitability and will include research into how soil, fertilisers and pesticides end up in waterways and how that can be managed, Environment Minister Vicky Darling said in a statement.

The government will spend $2 million on extending its research into cane growers' losses of nitrogen fertiliser and pesticides.

This ... demonstrates this government's commitment towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef, a Queensland icon," Ms Darling said.

World Wildlife Fund spokesman Nick Heath said the policy announcement was "a win-win" for the Great Barrier Reef and farm productivity.

Hundreds of reefs had lost up to 50 per cent of their coral, largely because of water pollution from farm chemicals and soil erosion, Mr Heath said.

"Today's announcement of new research funding will help speed the adoption of precision agriculture, helping farmers know just the right amount of stock or chemical to use," he said.

The cash is part of the government's $50 million reef protection package, which is being rolled out over five years.



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Reader Comments (1)

The problem of cow poo and wee running into drains around NZ farm paddocks has increased. Dairy cow numbers have grown to where they now represent the equivalent of a NZ population of 80 million. Mixed with this fertilizer is sediment (mud) which sits in the drain until a greater water flow moves it into the adjacent waterways and subsequently into estuaries and beaches. The answer to this problem is well-known. It's riparian plantings. i.e. a 3-5 metre fenced strip alongside each drain where ungrazed vegetation can strain run-off and process the pollution. Why doesn't this happen? Understandably dairy nfarmers have stocked to capacity in pursuit of the almighty dollar and losing this pasture to the concept of protecting water quality for others downstream is a low priority. Local politicians appear loath to tackle this problem of where fences should go alongside drains (waterways) because the milk industry is seen as the goose that .... Many banks of the Waihou are unfenced and it can be seen that fencing is drainedge when driving across the Hauraki Plains. We need to emulate the Australians .

November 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H. Wood

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