A farmer-led approach to developing on-farm nutrient management solutions to protect Lake Rerewhakaaitu

Lake Rerewhakaaitu. Photo by Alison Marshall, courtesy of Environment Bay of Plenty

A farmer-led MPI Sustainable Farming Fund project is underway in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment (south of Lake Rotorua) to develop a voluntary approach to reduce farm nutrient losses and improve lake water quality.

Reducing nutrient losses from pastoral farms is critical for improving water quality. Mitigating nutrient losses on all catchment farms needs to occur to achieve the desired water quality targets.

AgResearch’s Environmental Footprinting Centre is working with Lake Rerewhakaaitu farmers to develop individual Whole Farm Nutrient Management Plans and on-farm solutions to reduce nutrient loss and improve stream and lake water quality. Mitigations options identified are then discussed with individual farmers so that the best solutions for each farm can be identified and implemented.

The individual Whole Farm Nutrient Management Plans will be used to develop the Rerewhakaaitu Catchment Plan for managing water quality.

This project aims to demonstrate and test how a positive and co-operative approach between farmers, regional council and science provider can achieve water quality targets while allowing profitable farming to continue.