Myths of intensification

There have been many excuses given for the uncontrolled agricultural intensification to persuade New Zealander’s to believe that expansion and intensification, particularly of dairy farming, is required for our economic prosperity. Dairy farming has been hailed and revered as an essential industry that we cannot do without. There has been little acknowledgement within the industry of the extensive environmental impacts that are closely correlated with dairy expansion and intensification.

These are some of the myths we often hear to allow the continuing of dairy intensification. We give insight into some reasons why these myths just aren’t true.

It’s time for more diversified farming systems in New Zealand. We should not be putting all our economic reliance on one land use.

Myth: We’ll lose money if farmers have to lower their environmental impacts.

Reality: In many cases, reducing environmental harm increases farm profit and saves us all money in the long run. Find out more.

Myth: It costs too much to reduce leaching

Reality: It is farm more expensive to remedy the effects of nitrogen than it is to stop leaching in the first place. Find out more.

Myth: Dairy is the backbone of the economy. 

Reality: Dairy only seems to contribute so much because, like most other industries, they don’t pay for their pollution. Find out more.

Myth: Water quality in New Zealand is largely stable or improving – not getting worse.

Reality: Water quality is deteriorating in many places, particularly in lowland pastoral and urban areas. Find out more.

Myth: “The recent changes to the NPS and NOF will halt declines in water quality and even lead to improvement…a fresh start for freshwater.”

Reality: These changes will most likely degrade water even further as they allow more pollution than previous limits. Find out more.

Myth: Water pollution comes mainly from urban sources.

Reality: Urban water pollution sources make up a small amount of the pollution waterways – urban areas only cover a small length of the total streams and rivers in New Zealand. Find out more.

Myth: New Zealand has one of the best environmental records of any country in the world.  We are 100% Pure compared to the rest of the world.

Reality: New Zealand’s water quality is decline, we have the highest proportion of endangered species including the highest proportion of threatened freshwater fish species, and we rank poorly in acting on climate change. Find out more.

Myth: Nitrate is not as bad as ecologists say it is.

Reality: At small concentrations, nitrate can cause effects in fresh water that impact on the use of that water for humans and aquatic life. Find out more.

Myth: Dams are good for the environment.

Reality: Dams cause substantial environmental impacts, especially if they are used for increased irrigation. Find out more. 

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