Boom in dairy farming threatens water quality,making lakes and rivers unswimmable

Patslatt1

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See https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21731435-government-data-suggests-60-rivers-and-lakes-are-unswimmable-dairy-farming-polluting-new

This article describes the threats to water supplies in New Zealand whose farm economy is similar to Ireland's with a huge dairy cattle population, 5.2 million dairy cattle vs 6.6 million cattle,mostly dairy, in the Republic of Ireland. The boom in international demand for milk products, especially from China, had led to rapid expansion of dairy herds in both countries.

The key threats described in the article are:
[]Bovine urine rich in nitrogen causes toxic algae which leaches into water
[]Excesive use of nitrogen fertiliser for fodder crops affects water
[]These nitrogen flows cause algae blooms which suck oxygen from water, threatening streams and fish stocks
[]Ecoli bacteria are present in cow dung
[]New Zealand dairy farms are extremely water intensive, with many requiring irrigation schemes that damage the environment (In contrast,Ireland has very high rainfall)

As a result, about 60% of NZ's waterways are unsafe for swimming.

In Ireland, there seems to be complacency about the impact of dairy farming on drinking water and recreational use of water, although dairy herds' contribution to methane gas pollution has received publicity in connection with EU environmental limits. Because of pollution risks, maybe expansion of dairy farming should be discouraged even if milk exports are "white gold".

Alternatively, the government could introduce very strict inspections of waterways and farms to prevent farming pollution of waterways. But given the past neglect of environmental pollution on farms, could the government be trusted to do so?
 


dresden8

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Patslatt slagging off the private sector?

Patslatt calling for more public sector oversight?

Well I never.

So much for efficiency.
 

McTell

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No
///
In Ireland, there seems to be complacency about the impact of dairy farming on drinking water and recreational use of water, although dairy herds' contribution to methane gas pollution has received publicity in connection with EU environmental limits. Because of pollution risks, maybe expansion of dairy farming should be discouraged even if milk exports are "white gold".

Alternatively, the government could introduce very strict inspections of waterways and farms to prevent farming pollution of waterways. But given the past neglect of environmental pollution on farms, could the government be trusted to do so?

Cattle farming is something we do well. Bad intensive farming, with fertiliser going into rivers, is the farmer wasting money.

Methane happens when greenery decomposes, and is not particular to cattle.

Let's start on the untreated sewage outfalls that are a new factor in the past 30 years. And to deal with them, huge fines on all the local politicians and civil servants who let them happen.
 

SeanieFitz

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Dairy Farming in New Zealand is seen as a business, nothing more, nothing less. Each cow is a "unit" and is measured on her productivity. Bull calves are a financial burden therefore they are culled at birth. If a dairy farmer hasn't enough feed for the winter then the cows go hungry or subsistence rations. Nothing can "hit" the bottom line. Many young Irish people head to NZ for a year working on farms and are shocked at the attitude of NZ farmers towards their livestock.

That attitude hasn't hit here (yet) but I guess Irish farmers have subsidies to cushion any drop in prices etc. However, imo, farming in Ireland is seen more as a "way of life" than purely a business. I cannot imagine Irish farmers treating their livestock in the manner many (not all) NZ farmers do
 

McSlaggart

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Cattle farming is something we do well. Bad intensive farming, with fertiliser going into rivers, is the farmer wasting money.
They spread the slurry quick and cheap and that means their is lots of waste. They do not care as now they have so many cattle inside they are desperate to get rid of the stuff.

I have seen streams running with brown run off from the spreading of slurry. It should be injecgted into the ground rather than spread on to the grass so most can be washed away.
 

'orebel

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See https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21731435-government-data-suggests-60-rivers-and-lakes-are-unswimmable-dairy-farming-polluting-new

This article describes the threats to water supplies in New Zealand whose farm economy is similar to Ireland's with a huge dairy cattle population, 5.2 million dairy cattle vs 6.6 million cattle,mostly dairy, in the Republic of Ireland. The boom in international demand for milk products, especially from China, had led to rapid expansion of dairy herds in both countries.

The key threats described in the article are:
[]Bovine urine rich in nitrogen causes toxic algae which leaches into water
[]Excesive use of nitrogen fertiliser for fodder crops affects water
[]These nitrogen flows cause algae blooms which suck oxygen from water, threatening streams and fish stocks
[]Ecoli bacteria are present in cow dung
[]New Zealand dairy farms are extremely water intensive, with many requiring irrigation schemes that damage the environment (In contrast,Ireland has very high rainfall)

As a result, about 60% of NZ's waterways are unsafe for swimming.

In Ireland, there seems to be complacency about the impact of dairy farming on drinking water and recreational use of water, although dairy herds' contribution to methane gas pollution has received publicity in connection with EU environmental limits. Because of pollution risks, maybe expansion of dairy farming should be discouraged even if milk exports are "white gold".

Alternatively, the government could introduce very strict inspections of waterways and farms to prevent farming pollution of waterways. But given the past neglect of environmental pollution on farms, could the government be trusted to do so?
New Zealand's annual rainfall is very similar to Ireland's.
 

Mrs. Crotta Cliach

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Bad contamination one year at Clonmel. The coco didn't fence off the streams that provide the county's drinking water and the deer poop washed down into the streams with boil orders resulting. It is not just cattle.
 

Destiny's Soldier

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Patslatt slagging off the private sector?

Patslatt calling for more public sector oversight?

Well I never.

So much for efficiency.
Farming is not totally private. Farmers feed on the EU Public Teat ( Farm income supplements etc)
That said the case against Dairy Farming is not valid.

The same arguments could be made against any farm animal. Urinates. Defecates. Drink Water. Have pathogens in their faeces.

The issue is irrigation and retention of farm manure in slatted cattle houses. Farm manure should be treated prior to being aerosolised and sprayed on to farm land.

There is however, an industry of Environmentalists who do not know the difference between good and bad Chemistry or Biology.
They are opposed to all human activity because ultimately they are Watermelons - Green on the outside Red on the inside.
 

Analyzer

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There is something amusing about Pat Slattery not advocating reckless profit chasing and to hell with everybody else.

I suspect this thread is evidence that he really is a selfish hypocrite after all who wants to be greedy for himsrlf, but then goes ape when other people do it.

And as usual he presents it as principled.
 

hurling_lad

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New Zealand's annual rainfall is very similar to Ireland's.
That is true in the aggregate, but the distribution of rainfall in New Zealand varies massively by region to such an extent that many farms (especially the east of the South Island) need irrigation to survive.


I've visited the west coast of the South Island and the rainfall there is something to behold

Contrast with the Irish rainfall map:
 

hurling_lad

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See https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21731435-government-data-suggests-60-rivers-and-lakes-are-unswimmable-dairy-farming-polluting-new

This article describes the threats to water supplies in New Zealand whose farm economy is similar to Ireland's with a huge dairy cattle population, 5.2 million dairy cattle vs 6.6 million cattle,mostly dairy, in the Republic of Ireland. The boom in international demand for milk products, especially from China, had led to rapid expansion of dairy herds in both countries.

The key threats described in the article are:
[]Bovine urine rich in nitrogen causes toxic algae which leaches into water
[]Excesive use of nitrogen fertiliser for fodder crops affects water
[]These nitrogen flows cause algae blooms which suck oxygen from water, threatening streams and fish stocks
[]Ecoli bacteria are present in cow dung
[]New Zealand dairy farms are extremely water intensive, with many requiring irrigation schemes that damage the environment (In contrast,Ireland has very high rainfall)

As a result, about 60% of NZ's waterways are unsafe for swimming.

In Ireland, there seems to be complacency about the impact of dairy farming on drinking water and recreational use of water, although dairy herds' contribution to methane gas pollution has received publicity in connection with EU environmental limits. Because of pollution risks, maybe expansion of dairy farming should be discouraged even if milk exports are "white gold".

Alternatively, the government could introduce very strict inspections of waterways and farms to prevent farming pollution of waterways. But given the past neglect of environmental pollution on farms, could the government be trusted to do so?
As a dairy farmer myself, I am concerned that there is a "head in the ground" attitude to this issue among many farmers, although there is an inspection regime that works fairly well, at least in terms of ensuring adequate slurry storage for farms.

There is currently a renegotiation of the 'Nitrates Derogation' rules that apply to intensive farms (mostly dairy farms) and it is likely that both the rules and enforcement will be beefed up. There is always lots of whinging from farmers and farm organisations when this happens but I welcome it, as it should help to prevent the sort of problems that we are now seeing in New Zealand.
 

Patslatt1

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Cattle farming is something we do well. Bad intensive farming, with fertiliser going into rivers, is the farmer wasting money.

Methane happens when greenery decomposes, and is not particular to cattle.

Let's start on the untreated sewage outfalls that are a new factor in the past 30 years. And to deal with them, huge fines on all the local politicians and civil servants who let them happen.
Untreated sewerage going into the sea decomposes quickly in salt water,so it isn't an environmental theat to the planet, though obviously undesirable.
 

Patslatt1

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Bad contamination one year at Clonmel. The coco didn't fence off the streams that provide the county's drinking water and the deer poop washed down into the streams with boil orders resulting. It is not just cattle.
Deer poop is a rare problem surely if the lampers are doing their kills for free meat?
 

Patslatt1

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Farming is not totally private. Farmers feed on the EU Public Teat ( Farm income supplements etc)
That said the case against Dairy Farming is not valid.

The same arguments could be made against any farm animal. Urinates. Defecates. Drink Water. Have pathogens in their faeces.

The issue is irrigation and retention of farm manure in slatted cattle houses. Farm manure should be treated prior to being aerosolised and sprayed on to farm land.

There is however, an industry of Environmentalists who do not know the difference between good and bad Chemistry or Biology.
They are opposed to all human activity because ultimately they are Watermelons - Green on the outside Red on the inside.
The point is that waterways aren't being protected because of poor Irish government regulatory enforcement which probably won't improve. That suggests limits on farm production may be needed to prevent destruction of waterways.
 

Patslatt1

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Nov 18, 2009
Messages
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There is something amusing about Pat Slattery not advocating reckless profit chasing and to hell with everybody else.

I suspect this thread is evidence that he really is a selfish hypocrite after all who wants to be greedy for himsrlf, but then goes ape when other people do it.

And as usual he presents it as principled.
A market economy isn't meant to be safe for polluters. My defence of markets stems from studies of economic theory, not from selfish business motives.
 

Patslatt1

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Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
4,298
As a dairy farmer myself, I am concerned that there is a "head in the ground" attitude to this issue among many farmers, although there is an inspection regime that works fairly well, at least in terms of ensuring adequate slurry storage for farms.

There is currently a renegotiation of the 'Nitrates Derogation' rules that apply to intensive farms (mostly dairy farms) and it is likely that both the rules and enforcement will be beefed up. There is always lots of whinging from farmers and farm organisations when this happens but I welcome it, as it should help to prevent the sort of problems that we are now seeing in New Zealand.
I hope the expectation for improved regulation isn't forgotten as the next general election approaches. Mattie in Tipp panders to farmers.
 

Turbinator

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Tis why I only consume organic milk - not much of a price difference nowadays from the conventional stuff if you shop in the likes of Aldi/LIDL
 

Fritzbox

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Tis why I only consume organic milk - not much of a price difference nowadays from the conventional stuff if you shop in the likes of Aldi/LIDL
Why, do organic cows sh!t less, or it comes out smelling of roses?
 


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