Planting in the hill country

PREVENTING EROSION: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has a new funding scheme to help hill country farmers. A grant rate of up to 75 percent is available from the Erosion Control Scheme for tree planting, fencing, weed and pest control. Picture supplied

VERDANT pastures and rolling hills are part of what define New Zealand’s national landscape, but when it comes to the latter, farmers take on Mother Nature when planting hill country.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) catchment manager — Northern Hawke’s Bay, Nathan Heath says hill country farmers’ efforts at preventing soil loss through erosion are increasingly becoming the focus of both the environmental regulators and those wanting to see cleaner rivers and coastlines.

“There is likely to be increasing regulatory pressure put on landholders who are not doing anything about erosion on their properties but there is significant financial support available for landholders to undertake soil conservation works on their properties”.

HBRC’s Peter Manson says they have a new funding scheme, which is aimed at helping hill country landowners to plant more trees for soil conservation.

“A grant rate of up to 75 percent is available this year from the Erosion Control Scheme (ECS) for activities that will help to keep productive soil on the hills and out of waterways. Depending on the situation and type of country, funding may be available for tree planting, fencing, associated weed and pest control and in some cases earthworks and structures.”

According to Mr Manson, this is the highest grant rate made to hill country land owners in more than 30 years and already there is strong demand for the service.

“It is likely the grant rate will lessen in the next year or two so the funds can be spread over more properties, so now is the time to get in.”

“Improving water quality in Hawke’s Bay (which includes Wairoa) is one of the main drivers of the fund, but keeping organic matter on the hills is important for pasture production and to store nutrients and soil moisture. While excess nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus are important on the easier country and flats, sediment is a more important ‘contaminant’ of rivers flowing out of East Coast hill country. That same sediment often represents loss of productive potential.

Some ECS work will include fencing and planting around waterways and native bush areas, which will add biodiversity benefits such as protection and creation of indigenous habitats,” Mr Manson says.

“There are some criteria to be met including an assessment of the erosion risk, completion of a simple erosion control plan and finally getting the application approved for funding. Wairoa staff at the HBRC office can help with all of these.”

Another incentive designed, in part, to tackle erosion is the One Billion Trees Programme.

Mr Heath says this initiative is not just focusing on pine trees.

“It’s about the right tree, in the right place for the right reasons. The challenge for farmers is to identify what is the right tree for them and their farming systems,” he says.

The HBRC will have a stall at the East Coast Farming Expo in early March.

Expo organisers say, the expo is an ideal venue for launching new products or releasing new research and technology straight to the target audience. Farmers and landowners can explore new ideas and have their questions answered by experts on the ground.

“If you are a Hawke’s Bay or East Coast farmer wanting to keep your business moving, or an agricultural innovator wanting to spread your message, this event is perfect,” says event director Dave Martin.

The 2019 East Coast Farming Expo will be hosted by the Wairoa A&P Society at their showgrounds on March 6 and 7, 2019.

It includes two days of interactive exhibits and seminars, providing opportunity for East Coast and Hawke’s Bay farming communities to interact face-to-face with industry innovators and experts.

“The whole point of the expo is about acknowledging the importance of face-to-face interaction when it comes to learning about new technology,” said Mr Martin.

“Farmers on the East Coast miss out a lot so the expo is an opportunity for them to interact directly with specialist industry innovators, but in a more intimate environment and closer to home. There are huge opportunities for technology uptake, especially in sheep and beef farming, and our society is extremely excited about the potential of this expo and being able to host it in our community,” said Martin.

Tickets to the A&P Muster are $20 — includes canapés and complimentary drink.

Go to http://www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz to buy your tickets.

Gate price to the Expo and seminars is $10.

VERDANT pastures and rolling hills are part of what define New Zealand’s national landscape, but when it comes to the latter, farmers take on Mother Nature when planting hill country.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) catchment manager — Northern Hawke’s Bay, Nathan Heath says hill country farmers’ efforts at preventing soil loss through erosion are increasingly becoming the focus of both the environmental regulators and those wanting to see cleaner rivers and coastlines.

“There is likely to be increasing regulatory pressure put on landholders who are not doing anything about erosion on their properties but there is significant financial support available for landholders to undertake soil conservation works on their properties”.

HBRC’s Peter Manson says they have a new funding scheme, which is aimed at helping hill country landowners to plant more trees for soil conservation.

“A grant rate of up to 75 percent is available this year from the Erosion Control Scheme (ECS) for activities that will help to keep productive soil on the hills and out of waterways. Depending on the situation and type of country, funding may be available for tree planting, fencing, associated weed and pest control and in some cases earthworks and structures.”

According to Mr Manson, this is the highest grant rate made to hill country land owners in more than 30 years and already there is strong demand for the service.

“It is likely the grant rate will lessen in the next year or two so the funds can be spread over more properties, so now is the time to get in.”

“Improving water quality in Hawke’s Bay (which includes Wairoa) is one of the main drivers of the fund, but keeping organic matter on the hills is important for pasture production and to store nutrients and soil moisture. While excess nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus are important on the easier country and flats, sediment is a more important ‘contaminant’ of rivers flowing out of East Coast hill country. That same sediment often represents loss of productive potential.

Some ECS work will include fencing and planting around waterways and native bush areas, which will add biodiversity benefits such as protection and creation of indigenous habitats,” Mr Manson says.

“There are some criteria to be met including an assessment of the erosion risk, completion of a simple erosion control plan and finally getting the application approved for funding. Wairoa staff at the HBRC office can help with all of these.”

Another incentive designed, in part, to tackle erosion is the One Billion Trees Programme.

Mr Heath says this initiative is not just focusing on pine trees.

“It’s about the right tree, in the right place for the right reasons. The challenge for farmers is to identify what is the right tree for them and their farming systems,” he says.

The HBRC will have a stall at the East Coast Farming Expo in early March.

Expo organisers say, the expo is an ideal venue for launching new products or releasing new research and technology straight to the target audience. Farmers and landowners can explore new ideas and have their questions answered by experts on the ground.

“If you are a Hawke’s Bay or East Coast farmer wanting to keep your business moving, or an agricultural innovator wanting to spread your message, this event is perfect,” says event director Dave Martin.

The 2019 East Coast Farming Expo will be hosted by the Wairoa A&P Society at their showgrounds on March 6 and 7, 2019.

It includes two days of interactive exhibits and seminars, providing opportunity for East Coast and Hawke’s Bay farming communities to interact face-to-face with industry innovators and experts.

“The whole point of the expo is about acknowledging the importance of face-to-face interaction when it comes to learning about new technology,” said Mr Martin.

“Farmers on the East Coast miss out a lot so the expo is an opportunity for them to interact directly with specialist industry innovators, but in a more intimate environment and closer to home. There are huge opportunities for technology uptake, especially in sheep and beef farming, and our society is extremely excited about the potential of this expo and being able to host it in our community,” said Martin.

Tickets to the A&P Muster are $20 — includes canapés and complimentary drink.

Go to http://www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz to buy your tickets.

Gate price to the Expo and seminars is $10.

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