The foundations of New Zealand’s farm environment management system have been rocked to the core by the release of today’s report into the effectiveness of farm nutrient modelling system Overseer.
Federated Farmers has been fighting against the use of Overseer by councils to define regulations for nutrient management on farm for more than a decade. Simply because of its lack of accuracy.
“This report is scathing. It basically says Overseer should never have been used for anything other than general on-farm nutrient use management,” Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.
Despite this, and the protestations of organizations like Feds for almost two decades, it is estimated more than 6000 farmers are strictly regulated by Overseer and another 5000 must do Farm Environment Plans with Overseer nutrient budgets.
This includes drystock, dairy, horticulture, arable and other farmers.
“All farmers and growers need answers so they have confidence in the way they continue to operate their farms, knowing what they do will have the outcomes they want.”
Feds would like to invite the authors of this report to come and talk to us about the future for Overseer.
“Feds is keen to be involved. We are up for conversations with the owners of Overseer to help find a way forward for farmers.”
Overseer is used by councils all over New Zealand as the basis for granting consents, checking compliance and enforcement against farmers. It is even supposed to be used as a tool for estimating on-farm GHG emissions.
“We and the rest of the industry have been in hundreds of council and court hearings, spent millions of dollars, (of farmer and taxpayer money) and used thousands and thousands of hours pushing back against officials trying to squeeze Overseer into a space that this report says it could not go.”