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Sustainable farm irrigation systems.

Executive Summary

Having completed a degree in agriculture I am aware of the importance of soil health and had started modifying the way we approached crop establishment, mainly with direct drilling autumn forage crops, and then moving into the cash crops. We had also invested in irrigation.

I had become involved in setting up a sustainable cropping group, with which the regional council were also involved. The group was concerned over wind erosion, water use and trying to sow into peat and timber to establish crops without ploughing.

LandWISE was formed and successful in gaining a Sustainable Farming Fund grant.

The three study topics were all major concerns of the group with a focus on vegetable crops and maintaining profitability if the production system was changed.  We had already experienced difficulty with establishing super sweet sweet-corn under reduced tillage systems yet knew the benefits gained by the soil from reduced tillage farming practices was well documented and proved by many.  With world leading technology available in NZ for use in this area my main aim was to look at management issues and systems.

The water issues were also of concern, with the public perception about irrigators wasting water on windy days. What constitutes an efficient system?  How do we allocate water to irrigation in limited reserve areas?  All of these are critical issues when water is seen as a limited resource.

Sustainable Farm Irrigation Systems – Hugh Ritchie

A brief guide to biotechnology In New Zealand farming.

Executive Summary

Agriculture is no stranger to technology but new technologies rarely receive an enthusiastic welcome, particularly when they relate to emotive issues such as animals and food.  Throughout history, people have used and adapted to both the positive and negative aspects of new technologies.

Initially there were over one hundred reasons given by opponents as to why a simple heat treatment process being developed to make food products safer was an unacceptable technology.  Without the ability to pasteurise milk, consider where the New Zealand dairy industry would be today!!

Looking back in history, we see the great impact of a number of pivotal events.  The internal combustion engine brought on the industrial revolution.  New chemical entities broadened our manufacturing capabilities.  Information technology has accelerated the creation of our knowledge base. But not all of the impacts of these have been positive.

Albert  Einstein said “The significant problems we face today can not be solved at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created them”.

Biotechnology  itself is not new but for many farmers it is a new way of thinking. Biotechnology is providing us with the ability to solve some of our more challenging problems. Problems in health and medicine, issues of food security and most importantly to farmers, new options for sustainable agricultural development.

The industrial, chemical and information revolutions are our history.  The biotechnology revolution offers us options for a healthy farming future.

A Brief Guide to Biotechnology In New Zealand Farming – Juliet Maclean