Correct planting leads to sustainable farming

Fonterra Open Gates

Correct planting could pave the way for sustainable farming.

According to Fonterra, the right kind of planting could kick start lower carbon emissions and help improve water quality.

It’s not quite the silver bullet, but it’s close.

With the right plants in the right place, for the right purpose, that could help us achieve our low carbon economy a whole lot quicker.

These are many of the things I learnt spending time on Brian and Pikko’s farm in Patumahoe, the land of the perfect pitch.

Fonterra Farm Source Group Director Richard Allen, says certain kinds of plants can prevent erosion, provide shelter for animals, and enhance the area’s ecology.

Most importantly, it helps farmers improve water quality by minimising run-off into streams.

“A billion dollars of capital invested by our farmers – part of that has been the planting around those waterways,” Allen says.

For example, when it rains on a farm, and the water runs through the paddock, as it makes its way to the waterways, it’s important there are plants there to catch sediment filtering it through.

Think of it like a sieve.

In New Zealand we can use native plants to make this happen.

A process so simple and yet so important to the overall commitment to creating a cleaner, greener, New Zealand.

“We know we’ve got a role to play and we want to support our farmers in improving water quality and reducing emissions. The key thing is we get behind our farmers right now, that the Government gets behind our farmers,” Allen says.

One of the problems farmers face is nearly half their plants don’t survive because the soil, climate, or region isn’t right. But that’s where Plant for Good comes in.

The dairy giant has partnered with Wildland Consultants to help make the initiative happen.

“Plant for Good will deliver plants and services to all Farm Source customers nationwide at a discounted rate. And quite literally, it will help our farmers plant once.”

It’s a way that will help farmers save time and money, while they save the environment.

The Co-op can achieve this discounted rate thanks to its size – bulk buying power brings the price down and Wildlands adds their advice and guidance to sweeten the deal.

Wildland guarantee at least 90 per cent of their native plants survive for the first 24 months – the time needed for a plant to take root. 

There’s a long way to go, and a lot to do, but this initiative is a step in the right direction, and one that could be very effective in helping farmers become part of the solution.

This article is created for Fonterra