Mackenzie Basin Call In

January 28th, 2010 at 2:26 pm by David Farrar

Almost everyone seems to think ’s call in of the Mackenzie Basin dairy consents was a good idea. Any doubts I had evaporated when I read this:

Minister Nick Smith today called in three large dairy effluent discharge consents in the Mackenzie Basin and established a board of inquiry to decide on the applications.

“I have called in these discharge consents as they are nationally significant due to their scale, the fragile and iconic nature of the Mackenzie Basin environment, the importance of freshwater quality to the Government and the high level of public interest,” Dr Smith said.

“The effluent from these intensive farms is equivalent to a city of 250,000 people and raises quite legitimate questions over the long-term impacts on the water quality in the Mackenzie Basin.

That is (literally) a shit load of effluent!

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69 Responses to “Mackenzie Basin Call In”

  1. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    “That is (literally) a shit load of effluent!”

    About the size of Hamilton in fact… do we actually NEED Hamilton?

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  2. XChequer (350 comments) says:

    Ele at Homepaddock has another very good take over here:

    http://homepaddock.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/their-land-our-water/

    XChequer
    http://www.thenzhomeoffice.blogspot.com/

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  3. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I would like to see the analysis behind that calculation.
    A city of 250,000 has to deal with sewage AND stormwater AND industrial waste water and you cannot simply multiple cows by weight equivalent of humans to get some equivalence.
    And they excrete the same amount whether in a shed or on the pasture but it is easier to collect and manage if its all in one place.
    Not a good start. Looking like the great AGW debate already.

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  4. Barnsley Bill (931 comments) says:

    “That is (literally) a shit load of effluent!”

    To paraphrase

    “That is (actually) a complete load of bullshit.”

    What is it with these envorimongs where the first instinct is to lie through their rotten brown teeth?

    I have no dog in this fight. I couldn’t give a shit whether they concrete the whole country from Kawakawa south or not.

    But I am thoroughly sick of reading these shock horror headlines everytime a story is published with an environment/ agw/ green angle.

    To correct Murray, it would actually be 2 Hamiltons.
    Nick “quota” Smith must actually be usefull for something, if anybody figures out what that is can they please post a comment and let the rest of us know.
    There is only one reason he has pulled in these applications and that is so he can be seen to be doing something by all those cardie wearing bunny rabbit lovers who get exercised every time somebody tries to either make a quid or steps on a fucking snail.

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  5. tvb (3,945 comments) says:

    The costs to the local district council in processing this application would have completely overwhelmed the local authority. The Minister has made a good call. The dairy indistry has a very poor record at managing effluent so we will see how this industrial scale farming measures up.

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  6. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Yes Owen. If you calculate it out and 18,000 cows = 250,000 peoples effluent then the NZ total herd of 5.6 million cows produces 77,784,000 human equivalents of effluent and the Indian herd of 283,000,000 cows produces the h/e of 3,930,870,000 people. If thats the case we are polluted beyond recovery and India must be buried under metres of cowshit.
    I suppose Indian cows don’t eat as well as ours and as we all know “If you don’t eat———”. :)

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  7. david (2,482 comments) says:

    True Owen but out in the paddock, some of it pancakes and dries out and becomes food for dung beetles and worms whereas from the shed it will be in a nice pumpable slurry that puts it all potentially into the soil in a soluble form that can wash into the water table, streams etc and can thus travel further, faster.

    I would also say that if anyone else has travelled through Holland or Belgium (and probably France and Germany as well) in the spring when they are emptying out the barn scrapings from the previous winter and spreading it on pastures, there is no escaping the stink for miles atround. I’ve worked on dairy farms here and visited many in Europe as well but that experience was nauseating to an extent I wouldn’t wish it on any tourist stopping for coffee at Tekapo

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  8. Don the Kiwi (1,338 comments) says:

    Its an ideal opportunity to establish an organic fertiliser industry locally, more useful than than bullshit that the bleeding hearts disseminate.

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  9. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    What is the point of the time, effort and expense of obtaining a resource consent if that process can then be overridden on a whim by the government of the day? Isn’t the very point of the resource consent process that it examines the problem and gives those affected a chance to be heard before a decision is made? What is added by the arbitrary intervention of Smith?

    The rule of law is a joke in this country.

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  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,681 comments) says:

    For the mathematically inclined, that works out to about 100 litres per day per cow of shit and piss. That sounds a bout right to me when you add in the water used to wash down the milking sheds twice each day. Whoever commented earlier that there is a huge difference between having most of that distributed over some 6,000 ha of pasture as in the Waikato and collecting the lot for disposal was spot on.

    For me, the real reason this outfit should be drop kicked into touch is that this type of activity will be used against us by our overseas competitors – never mind whether or not justified – and in that case it is in the national interest for the applications to be declined.

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  11. annie (533 comments) says:

    Good one. Now, how about the open sewers our SI back country rivers have become? I swam in the Aparima river as a kid, had a paddle in it when I was down south last year, and it wasn’t good. And this was well upstream, about 15k south of Five Rivers, where the land is paved in cows.

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  12. mavxp (490 comments) says:

    I’m against this kind of farming in NZ, but isnt all that effluent a great source for making biodiesel on a profitable scale?

    We could even collect their farts under the roof and bottle it as LNG.

    just thinking out loud…

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  13. Barnsley Bill (931 comments) says:

    Adolf sums it up very well. Quota smith needs to drop the weasel words and actually call his decision for what it should be rather than soundbites and excuses.
    however, a 100 litres a day would be pretty close to what an urban human would produce as well. we might not be shitting dozens of litres per day but our water consumption is massive. It all has to go somewhere.

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  14. Dobbie (36 comments) says:

    Check out Fed Farmers release on the call-ins. Not sure what’s going on with them but I do know that I polled farmers as part of some work I do for an Ag client and guess what, 85% of those polled (n=215) didn’t support the proposals. In fact the only two farmers who did were both Southland farmers with large herds. So what’s going on? The Feds don’t seem to be echoing the views of their members. I heard that in an unguarded moment Don Nicholson said “I don’t know what’s wrong, they’ve been farming like this in the US for years” and “I know these guys (the Applicants) and they’re good blokes”. Surely the Feds aren’t basing their stance on whether Don likes the factory farmers more than the Greenies, are they? Or the US where feedlots and cubicle farming are proving uneconomic and the trend is back to grass!!! Not only that but they keep calling these things ‘loose housing’. They’re trying to blur the lines between nice, herd homes (which have been proven to increase on-farm profitability and environmental ouctomes) and the MacKenzie proposals which are cubicle farms – that’s factory farms for the uninitiated. I reckon it’s time for change at the Feds. These guys are behaving less like representative advocates for their members and more like reactionaries! PS do you know why Fonterra opposed these things? Because they did the numbers a wee while back and they know that for the majority of their shareholders cubicle farming is less profitable than the current model! The only reason these guys in the MacKenzie are doing it is because they want to force dairy onto a landscape that isn’t suited to it!

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  15. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Not enough information. That said, on his previous record, I’d like to see Nick Smith out of parliament in NZ altogether. Hopeless.

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  16. andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    As it is the Mackenzie, for all the bluster, is virtually wasteland. The fragile and iconic nature of the Mackenzie Basin environment my arse, its only good for rabbits as it is why not make it productive?

    Because energetic entrepreneurial people and their schemes are an anathema to the left, breaking as they do dependence on big Government. Nick Smith is just another useless left wing Politician.

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  17. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    Here’s some more information RB –

    30,000 kgs to 100 cows
    300 kgs to 1 cow

    18,000 cows

    5,400,000 kgs x 5.70 payout

    = $30,780,000 of income

    Nice one Nick Smith.

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  18. Pete George (21,826 comments) says:

    The only reason these guys in the MacKenzie are doing it is because they want to force dairy onto a landscape that isn’t suited to it!

    There won’t be much of NZ that is higher ( 500-600m), dryer or colder, and it’s probably well up the stony scale too. So it’s the opposite of dairy country. But I guess they don’t want the country as much as the building sites.

    That whole region needs winter feed so this sort of operation would compete for that and drive up prices, as well as having to truck (or ship) in a lot.

    It’ also may be just about as far away as you can get from a dairy factory, so that’s a lot of transport to get the milk out. How many trucks a day for that many cows? Over what distance?

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  19. john.bt (170 comments) says:

    Kate, I am not a fan of Nick Smith, but it can’t always be about the money.

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  20. CharlieBrown (792 comments) says:

    “The costs to the local district council in processing this application would have completely overwhelmed the local authority. The Minister has made a good call. The dairy indistry has a very poor record at managing effluent so we will see how this industrial scale farming measures up.”

    That is why the bigger picture should be looked at – Strip down the RMA so councils don’t have to concern themselves with such needless processing.

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  21. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Ok I’ve given it some thought, we offset the pooh footprint by bulldozing Hamilton and eating steak.

    Win win.

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  22. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Picking up on Murray’s comment … if this is the same amount of effluent as Hamilton then could Nick Smith PLEASE appoint a Board of Enquiry to look into cancelling Hamilton’s resource consents and shutting the whole place down?

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  23. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Its the only way to be sure.

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  24. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Hamilton drowning in its own shit. I like it!

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  25. CharlieBrown (792 comments) says:

    The amount of efluent that comes out of the cows shouldn’t be the concern, from and environmental point of view, it should be where that effluent goes to. If some contructive product could be made out of it (like bio diesel as someone above pointed out), then that would make this proposal great.

    I would like to see the details as to where the effluent was destined to before I make judgement behind the decision.

    As a side note, I think Fonterra shareholders should have the right to vote on excluding processing such a farms milk as it could be very damaging to the companies image.

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  26. david (2,482 comments) says:

    I’m no apologist for Nick Smith but I understand that there is no ministerial veto over the expert panel decision. Smith is purely establishing the process and (apart from choosing the panel) has little influence over the outcome.

    I’m with Adolf.

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  27. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    I think the reason it has been called in is that district and regional councils would have to consider it based on the environmental effects alone – and which probably could be mitigated even for that much shit – so it could go through. The issue of damage to NZ image of free range grass feeding cows is not a district/regional plan matter so it will be interesting to see how this is dealt to.

    (We should also breed meat that is happy to be eaten and can say so).

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  28. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    You all seem to be missing the fundamental point that all these folk are seeking is to undertake a perfectly legal activity on their property.

    [DPF: But it impacts other properties]

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  29. Uplander (44 comments) says:

    I wonder if many of the above commentators have regularly visited the Mackenzie Country and watched the changes taking place with the massive irrigators (one is 1.3 km long) and the changes to the landscape and the apparent degradation to the creeks and lakes. The Mackenzie is basically gravel with a little bit of soil on top and lots of gravel underneath.

    Maybe Cactus Kate should consider the opportunity cost. How much less power will be generated by Tekapo B, Ohau A, Ohau B, Ohau C, Benmore, Aviemore, and the Waitaki because the water is taken at the top of the food chain. What is the cost of that?

    Surely anyone who has considered the matter would leave the water in the river, generate the power then take it out at Duntroon or wherever and spread it over South Canterbury and North Otago. No sheds needed either.

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  30. david (2,482 comments) says:

    Oh and for the geographically challenged, one of the largest milk processing plants in the world is a bloody sight closer to the McKenzie than many other parts of NZ are to their local factory. South Westland, Golden Bay, Hawkes Bay, Most of Marlboough, a fair chunk of the Coromandel, Manawatu, Wairarapa, possibly even the Kapiti Coast to name but a few.

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  31. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    This is New Zealand greg, no one has property that isn’t held at the pleasure of the government of the day.

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  32. Jaime Raine (46 comments) says:

    At the end of the day, despite what the government does or what the farmers are proposing, it is us consumers who have the power. Producers respond to profit – not concerns for the environment, not concerns for the welfare of the animals. If people made the simple switch from dairy milk to soy milk there wouldn’t even be any market for cubicle farming.

    Cow’s milk is an inefficient food source.

    Cows, like humans, expend the majority of their food intake simply leading their lives. It takes a great deal of grain and other foodstuffs cycled through cows to produce a small amount of milk. And not only is milk a waste of energy and water, the production of milk is also a disastrous source of water pollution. A dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste every day – equal to that of two dozen people, but with no toilets, sewers, or treatment plants. Manure from dairy farms poisons vast expanses of underground water, rivers, and streams.

    Corporate-owned factories where cows are warehoused in huge sheds and treated like milk machines have replaced most small family farms. With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, it is common for modern dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk a day – 10 times more than they would produce in nature. To keep milk production as high as possible, farmers artificially inseminate cows every year. Growth hormones and unnatural milking schedules cause dairy cows’ udders to become painful and so heavy that they sometimes drag on the ground, resulting in frequent infections and overuse of antibiotics. Cows – like all mammals – make milk to feed their own babies – not humans.

    Male calves, the “byproducts” of the dairy industry, endure 14 to 17 weeks of torment in veal crates so small that they can’t even turn around. Female calves often replace their old, worn-out mothers, or are slaughtered soon after birth for the rennet in their stomachs (an ingredient of most commercial cheeses). They are often kept in tiny crates or tethered in stalls for the first few months of their lives, only to grow up to become “milk machines” like their mothers.

    Dairy products are a health hazard. They contain no fiber or complex carbohydrates and are laden with saturated fat and cholesterol. They are contaminated with cow’s blood and pus and are frequently contaminated with pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Dairy products are linked to allergies, constipation, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

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  33. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    Im with Owen on this. When I first heard about it my immediate thought was its easier to collect store process whatever cow shit if they are all in a shed than it is now when they are in a paddock.

    So when are the cow farmers going to be ordered to follow behind Daisy and scope up her poos and dispose of it in an environmentally way.

    Because folks as I write hundreds of thousands of Daisys are shitting and peeing all over paddocks

    Come on Nick. Whats your answer to that. Dont have one do you Mouth opened before brain engaged as per normal

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  34. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    @ Jaime good on ya, get those dairy farmers out of business, we will all be much better off. You can make the same arguments about meat and get those damn parasitic sheep and beef farmers off our backs as well.

    Of course the NZ consumer only takes around 3% of our dairy output so has limited voice.

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  35. David in Chch (503 comments) says:

    And KiwiGreg – what you’re missing is that the Mackenzie Country is a high dry alpine near-desert, and the downstream effects of that scale of dairy operation would be quite large. It would have impacts well beyond their property.

    I echo Dobbie. I do a lot of work in that area, and talk to the locals quite a bit. The land is so marginal, and the demands on the water and other resources that such an operation would need would be so large, as to skew things a lot. Most locals recognise that, and the long-term negative effects it would have.

    And the thousands of “Daisies” shitting and pissing in the semi-arid Canterbury region IS having an impact on the water quality. It DOES end up in the groundwater.

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  36. Matt Long (88 comments) says:

    I note it’s very popular for the hysterical fringe to compare dairy effluent with City sewerage but comparing sewage from omnivores with digested grass is apples with rotten meat.
    What the cows produce when not diluted with water is commonly called manure and is still the best nutrition for plants.

    Properly done with methane digesters these operations have great potential for generating electricity, producing high quality odourless nutrients, and building the quality and depth of topsoil in the area, in the process sequestering a shitload of carbon for all the warming “true believers.”

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  37. Matt Long (88 comments) says:

    Jaime Raine, interesting post on American Dairy farming, don’t quite get what it has to do with New Zealand or the current debate.

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  38. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    note it’s very popular for the hysterical fringe to compare dairy effluent with City sewerage but comparing sewage from omnivores with digested grass is apples with rotten meat.

    Actually, its Apples with digested meat/fruit/vegetables

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  39. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Use it to make wattle and duab housing for the greenies… on the Auckland islands.

    Another win win.

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  40. Jasper (6 comments) says:

    Matt, I’m a townie but isn’t cow sh*t’s worth as manure extremely low, especially compared to sheep & horse dung? Perhaps the sheer volume of it makes up for the lack of nutrients!

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  41. simo (150 comments) says:

    “KiwiGreg (917) Says:

    January 28th, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    You all seem to be missing the fundamental point that all these folk are seeking is to undertake a perfectly legal activity on their property.”

    Finally, the only sensible comment on the page!!

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  42. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    HEY!!! I said bulldoze Hamilton.

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  43. Jaime Raine (46 comments) says:

    Jaime Raine, interesting post on American Dairy farming, don’t quite get what it has to do with New Zealand or the current debate.

    The practices are quite similar here. If you are interested you can have a look at this article written by Samuel Tucker (nzdairy.webs.com):

    Dairy cows are continually kept pregnant and lactating and their babies are taken away from them when they are only two days old. The life of a dairy cow is not as natural as you might think, especially considering that 80 percent of dairy cows are made pregnant through artificial insemination. 1

    The only way for a cow, like any other mammal, to produce milk is for the cow to have a baby. The milk produced by cows is naturally meant for baby calves; however, because people want to drink this milk, the baby calves are taken away from their mothers when they are only a few days old. 1 Cows are extremely maternal animals and both the mother cow and the baby calf suffer terribly from being separated at such a young age. One study showed that calves with no interaction with their mothers or only interaction through a fence, “induced significant increases in walking, butting, urinating, and vocalizing”2. In fact, one cow missed her baby so much that she broke out of her paddock and trekked through 8 kilometers of paddocks and rivers to find her baby 3. On dairy farms, mother cows can be heard bellowing out wildly trying to find their babies as well as running after the cattle trucks that take their babies to separate farms.

    The baby calves lives are then decided by their gender. If the calf is male then he is taken away to be raised and slaughtered for meat. Because of this the NZ dairy industry contributes to the death of more than 1 million male calves every year. 4 That’s one death every 20 seconds. In fact, 55 percent of all beef in New Zealand supermarkets comes directly from the dairy industry. 5 These male calves are transported to separate meat farms or slaughterhouses, where they will never see their mothers again. Transported as young as 4 days of age, they endure cold and hunger, without food for up to 30 hours, while struggling to maintain their footing in the cattle truck.

    There is no legal requirement for calves to be fed before being transported. A 1998 study 6 looked at 7,169 young male calves who arrived at a Wanganui abattoir (slaughterhouse) after a 7-hour journey in cattle trucks. The research found that 27 arrived in an ‘unacceptable condition’ – lying down, unable to walk, extremely weak or seriously injured. A further 4 percent were ‘marginal’ with a ‘wet umbilicus, were hollow sided, apparently immature, or weak and slow and unsteady on their feet’. While these numbers may not seem large, the fact that a million male calves are slaughtered every year means that thousands probably arrive at slaughterhouses in critical condition, and tens of thousands are seriously unwell after the journey.

    If the calf is female she will either be kept as a herd replacement, living in the same conditions as her mother, or she will be sent to a slaughterhouse or killed on farm.

    In the 6-8 days after calving, cows lose weight and condition rapidly, as their bodies consume themselves to provide milk for absent calves 7, so that humans can buy milkshakes to wash down burgers made from the bodies of those same calves. Researchers have estimated that a modern dairy cow is under as much strain as a cyclist on Tour de France. 8

    Naturally cows can live to be up to 25 years old. But on dairy farms they are slaughtered when they are only 5-7 years old meaning that most dairy cows live less than a third of their natural life span. In fact, 20 percent of New Zealand’s dairy cows are killed every year, because they are considered too old or they fail to become pregnant. 9 Cows form strong relationships and spend most of their time in ‘friendship groups’ of 2-4 cows who lick and groom each other. 10 This annual slaughter is very distressing to their friends in the herd.

    Cows are forced onto trucks (in the same way baby male calves are transported) that take them to be slaughtered. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are held together in stunning pens where they are stunned with a captive bolt pistol. They are then shackled by the leg, lifted up and have their throats slit. After the blood has been drained away, the cows body is used for cheap meat and pet food. 11

    Because dairy cows are milked so excessively, NZ dairy cows have increased risks of teat diseases like mastitis. Symptoms of mastitis include include hot, swollen, acutely painful udders, fever, and loss of appetite. When a cow has mastitis her udder may become so inflamed that it is as hard as a stone, and blood bubbles into her milk, which becomes clotted and watery 12. Severe cases of mastitis can kill a cow in less then 24 hours. Modern dairy cows have been bred for milk production to the point where the teats of their enlarged udders dangle close to the ground, and become muddy and infected. 13

    Although tail docking is not as common in cattle as in sheep, the tails of some dairy cows are amputated using a tight rubber ring, or a searing iron, in order to “improve comfort for milking personnel, and enhance milking efficiency,” 13 or to try and stop mastitis. However, the scientific evidence for mastitis prevention is inconclusive. A US study by researcher Dan Weary found no health benefits in chopping off cows’ tails. 14

    Amputation is very painful, as the cow’s tail is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. Cows need their tails to swat away insects, and possibly to communicate with other cows. Docked cows try in vain to flick their tail stumps, and are likely to suffer from neuropathic pain, similar to the “phantom limb” pain experienced by human amputees. 16 Cattle may also be branded for identification.

    The RNZSPCA is opposed both to the docking of the tails of dairy cows, and to the use of hot branding.

    Calves are often dehorned to prevent damage or bruising to their carcass during slaughter. Calf’s may be dehorned with bolt cutters, scoop dehorners or a butchers saw. This causes pain, bleeding and exposure of the frontal sinuses in older animals. 13 The pain can last 6 hours after dehorning. 15 Dehorning is often done without the use of anaesthetics.

    1) “Pasture-based dairying the New Zealand way”, New Zealand Agritech

    2) “A note on behavioral responses to brief cow-calf separation and reunion in cattle” Journal of veterinary behavior, (2007): 10-14

    3) SAFE Humane resource ‘Animals and Us’

    4) “Beef cattle productivity from pasture” Agritech

    5) “Statistics”, Beef New Zealand

    6) Stafford, K.J., “The physical state and plasma biochemical profile of young calves on arrival at a slaughter plant,” New Zealand veterinary journal 49.4 (2001): 142-149

    7) “Weight loss after calving,” New Zealand dairy farmer 80.12 (2005): 73.

    8) J. Webster, Animal welfare: a cool eye towards Eden (Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1994)

    9) McQueen, Robert J. [et al.], “The WEKA machine learning workbench: its application to a real world agricultural database,” University of Waikato, Dept. of Computer Science

    10) Leake, Jonathon, “The secret life of moody cows,” Sunday star times Jan. 27, 2005: 13.

    11) “Truth or Dairy”, AAA Leaflet

    12) S.M. McDougall, “Prevalence of clinical mastitis in 38 Waikato dairy herds in early lactation,” New Zealand veterinary journal 47 (1999): 143-149.

    13) Animal welfare (painful husbandry procedures) code of welfare 2005

    14) “Scientists let the tail wag their research,” Chronicle of higher education 46 (2000): 22.

    15) C. McMeekan et al., “Effects of a local anaesthetic and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic on the behavioural responses of calves to dehorning,” New Zealand veterinary journal 47 (1999): 92-96

    16) J. Ladewig and L.R. Matthews, “The importance of physiological measurements in farm animal stress research,” Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 52 (1992): 77-9

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  44. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    Matt is correct, the effluent argument is a straw man. Pastoral dairy farming in the traditional sense is likely to be worse with raw effluent being irrigated onto paddocks the current best practice. The large scale guys such as the Crafars have shown a poor ability to manage large scale effluent disposal. However the implementation of digesters to produce biogas (methane) is a huge opportunity to create a win-win scenario by rendering the raw effluent which has a large BOD (biological oxygen demand) into inert manure and produce usable energy.

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  45. Matt Long (88 comments) says:

    Jaime, I’m glad to see you feel passionately for the welfare of animals, I suggest you find more accurate source material and then lobby industry groups to improve animal conditions.
    I would not quote the article from Mr Tucker, as his distortions and inaccuracies tend to blow your credibility.
    One of the challenges dairy farmers face is shelter in inclement weather and shade in hot weather (Heat Stress) which the type of housing described would alleviate. However there are other concerns with the welfare of cows kept indoors.

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  46. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    “(We should also breed meat that is happy to be eaten and can say so).”

    Hey pkiwi. 4.14: Here is the meat for you. Invest your one cent now so you can afford a plate of it at the end of the universe.

    (not in a finance company though)

    The quadruped Dish of the Day is an Ameglian Major Cow, a Ruminant specifically bred to not only have the desire to be eaten, but to be capable of saying so quite clearly and distinctly. When asked if he would like to see the Dish of the Day, Zaphod replies: “let’s meet the meat.” The Major Cow’s quite vocal and emphatic desire to be consumed by Milliways’ patrons greatly distresses Arthur Dent, and the Dish is nonplussed by a queasy Arthur’s subsequent order of a green salad, since he knows “many vegetables that are very clear” on the point of not wanting to be eaten — which was part of the reason for the creation of the Ameglian Major Cow in the first place. After Zaphod orders four rare steaks, the Dish announces that he is nipping off to the kitchen to shoot himself. Though he states, “I’ll be very humane,” this does not comfort Arthur at all.

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  47. Steve (4,327 comments) says:

    Murray,

    Could just leave Hamiton alone and get rid of Nick Smith.

    Win win

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  48. Dobbie (36 comments) says:

    Hey Kate,can you complete your calculations please? There’s a cost side too? Include direct costs e.g. energy costs on farm, vet bills, cost of feed that’s trucked in, maintenance, fines for breaching discharge consents. And include indirect costs – costs of nutrient build up in waterway, damage to other Kiwi dairy farmers who have invested in grass, damage to our brand as a clean, green nation, effective subsidies from NZ taxpayers to the factory farmers for various things.

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  49. Dobbie (36 comments) says:

    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Actually animal shelters or herd homes can play a big part in improving the profitability of dairy farming as well as getting cows off the grass and out of the weather as needed and storing and managing effluent. Problem with these MacKenzie farms is that they’re just big cow factories and they’re in the wrong place i.e. New Zealand! Oh and by the way, there are actually farmers out there who make bloody good profits by raising cows on grass with bugger all run-off without throwing as many cows on each acre as they possibly can or buying flash effluent management systems. They tend to be the intelligent ones who want to make money but also give a stuff about their animals and their land.

    Oh and apparently in the States many cubicle and feedlot farmers are moving back to grass. Why? Because the cost structure is better making it more profitable!

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  50. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    Why are you so concerned about their cost structure? It’s their money and if they go go broke because they haven’t done their sums right then it’s their problem.

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  51. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    Dobbie – Nick Smith only seems to be focused on the costs so I was bringing balance back into the debate with recognising the vast amount of revenue.

    As for your argument it is poked to start with – many of those costs you list have economic multiplier effects throughout the economy ie. all the services that the farm needs and provides gainful employment.

    If this farm project costs NZ more than it will generate then I would be highly surprised given what you would be deducing is that we should ban farms simply because they pollute.

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  52. whalehunter (465 comments) says:

    an operation that size could irrigate the effluent into a large forestry block

    and under nicks ets, claim some carbon credits.

    oh, and then sell a few back to themselves…

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  53. XChequer (350 comments) says:

    Hang on CK, weren’t you one of the people telling us all how pining our hopes on dairying as being a backbone of GDP for the country is fruitless? Now you’re saying Nick Smith is missing out on a big windfall?

    But this isn’t really the point.

    What should be the point is that we are trying to make something out of nothing. The Mackenzie Country doesn’t suit dairying – that is blatantly obvious. While trying not to sound like a tree-hugging, pinko, liberal, socialist if you push nature – nature will push back!

    These guys down south are only after the quick buck – nothing more.

    XChequer
    http://www.thenzhomeoffice.blogspot.com/

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  54. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    There is nowhere which doesn’t suit dairying except maybe the side of a mountain but then try telling that to the Swiss. Making something out of nothing is what people do best (except socialists). It’s called wealth creation.

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  55. Lawrence Hakiwai (119 comments) says:

    This screams Whangamata Marina – minister acting on ideological whim while speaking in eco-mumbo-jumbo soundbites.

    Thankfully he also has to follow the law. As Chris Carter found out.

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  56. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    “Hang on CK, weren’t you one of the people telling us all how pining our hopes on dairying as being a backbone of GDP for the country is fruitless? Now you’re saying Nick Smith is missing out on a big windfall?”

    XChequer – tell us what else is going to bring in $30 mill of revenue alone on that land, let alone the multiplier effects through the economy? Plant trees, hold hands and hum around them in an effort to make them grow?

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  57. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    We could awalys dig up our vast coal reserves and sell them to china Cactus, oh shi-

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  58. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Its grand hunting country down there in the MacKenzie basin what with the lakes and the mountains why don’t we get shot of all this native fauna business, sack the bloody tree hugging, nose rubbing DOC wankers and breed up some real trophy Deer, Chamois and Tahr herds (not to mention import a few more exotics and breed them up) and charge the foreigners a bloody fortune to knock them over. (With cheap concessions for us locals).

    It would make a bloody sight more dough than grotty old dairy farming and have bugger all impact on the landscape.

    The bloody place is crying out for that type of development but this shithole little country run by pathetic little PC wankers in their safe little public servant jobs for life will never even comtemplate something like that.

    Christ it may mean their fucking paperclip inventories might get out of kilter!!

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  59. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Hmm, what about the dairy conversions in the central north island that poor loads of shit into the lakes there rendering them effectively dead (and thats been going on for a decade or two).

    Nick? Not enough retired dentists with ‘baches’ there?

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  60. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Not to mention what the effluent draining via the Taharua River into the Mohaka courtesy of the Crafars and others has done to that catchment. Trophy Deer are the answer to a high income/low impact money spinner not bloody dairy cattle. All they do is bugger the place. Try and tell that to the DOC wankers though. Time they were decimated.

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  61. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    Jaime Raine – Your ability to use cut & paste is quite astounding and I commend you for it. As a sharemilker on a 600 cow far mI could answer a number of your (inexperienced ) assumptions about what dairyfarming is or isn’t.
    First as to whether farming animals for milk products/meat is moral or immoral I guess depends your your world view.
    If you believe that killing mosquitos and ants is akin to murder then for sure you would have problems with modern cattle farming. I think though that such a view is perhaps held by a small (but noisy?) group who perhaps struggle with killing lettuces to make a salad for lunch.
    I’m not saying htat pasture based dairy farming does not have its issues – it does but when you actually tend the dairy herd on a daily basis and interact with a diary herd you realise that for the most part rotationally pasture fed cows are quite content.

    As to their effluent discharge- it is a natural part of a sustainable cycle. Cow eats grass – produces milk. waste effluents returns to the soil where it is broken down by the natural soil process (worms etc.) and provides nutrients for futher pasture growth, (Up to 25% of a farm’s fertilizer requirements) Over the process of a rotation(20-25 days), a chewed out paddock with lots of dung/urine patches changes to a paddock full of grass ready for the cows to graze again.

    As to the treatment of bobby calves if you think the CRAFAR way is normal – it isn’t.
    On our farm nad every farm I have worked on, they are treated like nay other calves while on the farm. They are fed the same colostrum/milk mix and if they are not strong enough to go on the bobby truck they stay behind.
    In relation to the bond between mother and calf, the reason why calves are taken off at 1-2 days of age is to stop the bond forming which breaks down a cows natural herding instinct. Once the cow has been seperated for several days her hormones rebalance and her focus (and genetic disposition) is on milk production even to the point that if the calf is reintroduced to the cow they have no interest in them.

    One of the main reasons why artifical insemination is used is to prevent std’s which was very prevalent in dairy cattle in the 1940′s and 50′s. Also it allows genentic improvement to be uniform across the national herd. ( Bulls are almost always used ot tail off the herd once 75% of the herd is pregnant)

    Cows are not slaughtered at 5-7 years old – this would be nuts as the cow is in her prime milking age at this time. Our oldest cow currently is 17 years old. Age doesn’t usually become a factor until they reach 11-13 years old.

    Condition loss is again natural genentic disposition that is temporary in nature (6-8 weeks) and is a reason why winter feeding is focused on getting cows up to a good condition score (5) so that they have the ability to shed condition in hte spring with no bad side affects.

    The same thing happens in the wild.

    I could go on and on but yeah I guess you think what you think. To be honest ( and I have worked in all several diffent in dustries and the public service) I think dairy farming is one of the most healthy hard working lifestyles you could have. You should try it sometime.

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  62. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    my apologies for the typos = big mama farmer fingers lol

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  63. kiki (425 comments) says:

    First step is to set aside your emotions and look at it in a calm way.

    The farmers own the land and should be able to use as they see fit.

    The water that they need is also used by others so we need a way to allow fair or proper use.

    The water that leaves the Mackenzie basin is very clean and is also used by other business’s because of it’s purity.

    Animal welfare

    Also the Mackenzie basin is very modified. If any of you have stood amongst it you will know.
    It has gone from trees to haracium and dust in 1000 years due to mans abuse (not use).

    If the farmers can give a 100% guarantee that the water will suffer no, not minimal, but no degradation and people accept a fair water use policy and animal welfare is covered then there should be no problem.

    Why the farmer shareholders of fonterra accept the subsidisation of these farmers that set up so far from a factory I can’t understand.

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  64. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    The only subsidisation within the dairy industry is the cooperative sharing of milk transport costs to the factory and that may be something which needs addressing in the modern mega company we have in Fonterra.

    New suppliers still have to purchase shares in the co-operative to contribute to the capital costs of processing milk. Now’s a better time as share price has been dropped from a high of few years ago.

    However the idea of a co-op originally was that all farmers contributed milk so that it could be processed economically and so the farmer with his herd next to the factory needed the farmer who was farthest from the factory in order to have a critical mass of milk to process.

    We have seen consolidation of the industry to further improve efficiencies and now milk is carted all over the country to various mega plants. The distance from the Mackenzie country to Fonterra Clandeboye is not that great in the scheme of things.

    One of the things the dairy industry needs to look at is the development of technology for cheap on-farm milk separation to lower transport costs.

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  65. Jaime Raine (46 comments) says:

    Thanks for everyone who has responded to my posts, it’s good to get two sides of the story. I disagree with killing animals for food as we humans can live healthy lives without meat or dairy but I am definitely all in favour of having as much information as possible on every issue.

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  66. Uplander (44 comments) says:

    No one – not anyone bar me has referred to the energy losses caused by these farms. The water that goes on this parched arid land will not generate power for Auckland, not any power and in addition will use lots and lots of power as well. It’s just crazy.

    Refer to my previous post. Leave the water in the river, generate the power then take it out from the Lower Waitaki and spread it over South Cant. and North Otago.

    The only reason these farms may make money is because they are paying nothing for the water.

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  67. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “we humans can live healthy lives without meat or dairy ”

    If you want to call that living

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  68. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    You live how you like but I didn’t get to the top of the food chain to eat like a bunny.

    Mmmmm… bunny.

    I’m also not telling you how to live, just do it down wind k.

    And uplander, screw Auckland. Get your own dman water. Every fucking jafa thionks the entire country exists for the sole purpose of ensuring that Auckland never runs out of hot latee.

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  69. Uplander (44 comments) says:

    Murray, I think my post may have been a little subtle for you.
    Let me say in different words:- Wasting water in the Mackenzie reduces the power produced downstream.

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