It is often a family’s livelihood and a legacy to pass on to future generations. Across New Zealand, rules and policies are being put in place to address concerns over our freshwater quality and the sustainability of our land use practices. Many of these rules impact directly on the agricultural sector, often with significant and long term implications. Keeping up to date with these rules, meeting the obligations they create, and incorporating changes into a farm’s operations can be a daunting task on top of the day to day running of the farm.
To help farmers keep on doing what they are passionate about and what they do best, WSP Opus offer a complete land and nutrient management service; from nutrient budgets to resource consent planning to soil and contaminated land management.
Anna and Brent Fisher own and run an award winning irrigated sheep, beef and cropping farm in Canterbury, with a focus on breeding Charolais beef cattle. The farm is situated in a culturally and ecologically significant area. The Fishers have already taken voluntary steps towards environmental responsibility prior to the new Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan becoming operative, including fencing off drains and waterways planted out in native vegetation.
Our team was engaged to help the Fishers with meeting their nutrient management obligations under the Regional Plan, including developing a farm environment plan, modelling nutrient budgets using Overseer®, and providing assistance with the resource consenting process.
In Canterbury, the farm environment plan and nutrient budget essentially form the conditions of a land use consent to farm, and so determine what farmers can do with their farm for the duration of that consent. With that in mind, it is really important that all of those components are done well with an intergenerational view as a priority. Prioritising future viability of a farm takes into account environmental, economic, and practical operation factors, while allowing the farmers to be able to adapt to changes in markets, technology and climate.
To add value for the Fishers, the nutrient management work, particularly the nutrient budget modelling, was done to allow for a sensible resource consent application for the whole farm, but also allow for potential sale of half the farm in future. This means the modelling was done so that prospective buyers could assess the baseline nutrient losses for that block independent of the whole farm without having to pay for the modelling to be redone at a cost to the farmer. Should the block be sold, both the remaining half of the farm and the on-sold block could have their own independent baseline nutrient budgets available to them for resource consent purposes.
WSP Opus helped the Fishers to obtain their resource consent for the farm, managing the application throughout the process to a successful conclusion.