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Curb on DCD use frustrates farmers
FRUSTRATING: Canterbury dairy farmers who have
used DCD to reduce nitrate leaching are frustrated
sales of the product have been suspended.
By GERALD PIDDOCK
CANTERBURY FARMERS looking at ways of
reducing their environmental footprint say the
suspension of sales of dicyandiamide (DCD)
DCD is used to reduce nitrogen leaching on
dairy farms. On Thursday, fertiliser companies
Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-nutrients
announced the suspension of all sales and use of
It came after minimal levels of DCD were found
in dairy product samples and therefore deemed a
risk to New Zealand's dairy export trade.
South Canterbury Federated Farmers dairy
chairman Ryan O'Sullivan hoped the suspension
Dairy farmers are now actively looking at ways
of reducing nitrification, with tighter nitrification
limits soon to be imposed under Environment
Canterbury's Land and Water Plan.
Mr O'Sullivan used Ravensdown's product
Eco-N on his farm near Fairlie.
It's one of the few tools farmers have to reduce
nitrate leaching on farms, short of de-intensifica-
tion. It was pretty much the only tool in the box.''
The product is applied twice a year via aerial
spraying. It captures the cows' urine over the
winter months and converts it into a product the
pastures can use in the spring.
He also supported the reasons for the
suspension, despite the frustration it had caused.
You can't debate the reasoning why.''
Federated Farmers vice-president, Dr William
Rolleston said DCD-based nitrification inhibitors
had been applied on about 500 dairy farms out of
12,000 in New Zealand.
That said, a detectable level at this time
presents a trade risk, no matter how small. It is
completely appropriate that Ravensdown and
Ballance Agri-Nutrients have withdrawn DCD-
based nitrification inhibitors from the market.''
The news was also a concern for the Lincoln
University dairy farm.
One of the farm's key objectives is to reduce its
environmental footprint, while maintaining its
production and profitability.
South Island Dairy Development Centre
executive director Ron Pellow said he hoped the
ban was temporary. Alternative measures had yet
to be discussed, but the farm's objectives
remained, despite the ban.
We have to hold our footprint where it was and
we don't have one of the tools that enabled us to
keep our footprint there,'' Mr Pellow said.
There were many ways for the farm to reach its
environmental goals, but few ways to achieve
those aspirations while maintaining profitability
That will now be the extreme challenge for us.''
China buys 7200 heifers
By GERALD PIDDOCK
HEAVY CARGO: Livestock carrier
Dareen loads 7200 dairy heifers
THE LARGEST shipment of
live dairy heifers to leave
Canterbury was loaded on
board a livestock carrier at the
Port of Timaru on January 31.
The 7200 heifers were bound
for China on the Dareen.
An Australian company,
Landmark Global Export, had
organised the sale.
The company's New Zealand
buyer, Paul Tippett, said the
stock were sourced from all
over New Zealand, including
from farms in central and
The 140-metre ship slipped
quietly into port on the
afternoon of January 30 and
did not appear on the port's
PrimePort Timaru chief
executive Jeremy Boys said in
a statement that this was done
at the exporter's request.
From the port's perspective,
it is a routine livestock
shipment but we accepted the
exporter's request to refrain
from publishing details of its
arrival, Mr Boys said.
The heifers were originally
due to leave Timaru the week
before on the livestock carrier
Bader III, but new
arrangements were made.
The shipment is the size
of about nine Canterbury
The export of dairy cattle is
growing as China builds up its
dairy industry. New Zealand
dairy cattle are sought after
there because they are suited
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