Two scary articles about our dairy lands

Dairy Irrigation 2

Two articles have caught my attention this month – for the wrong reasons. The first one said that high levels of ground compaction and water nurtification are occurring in New Zealand’s dairying landscapes. The second reported on a lobby ground that wants to put 50% more land into irrigation – and presumably put 50% more land into that over-compacted, excess-nutrient status. 

Soil compaction affecting 75% of dairying lands in NZ, environmental report finds

IrrigationNZ calls for 350,000 ha more land to be irrigated by 2025, lifting total by 50%

The correlation is incomplete, I know – neither article suggests that irrigation, and therefore dairying, is causing environmental degradation. But it’s hard to ignore the suggestion that when it comes to natural resource management we might not be heading in quite the right direction.

I whole-heartedly support economic development, and I squarely separate myself from any perspective that that counters this. Yet I can’t help but worry that New Zealand is putting her natural resources at risk and getting the combination of environment and economics wrong.

Modern thinking had produced some beautiful ways that the two can work hand in had, and it seems like we’re missing out. I don’t want us to miss out. I want us to take a good hard look at how we’re managing our environment in our economy and start making changes – innovations – before it’s too late. I don’t want to see more connected articles like this.


 Image thanks to

Image thanks to

If you’d like to know more about better policy to integrate business, economics, and the environment (particularly around biodiversity conservation in New Zealand) please follow me. I want to part of bringing that conversation – and hopefully future solutions – to light.


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