Formerly Pact Consulting Limited

Regional Collaborative Extension Project


The increasingly regulated management of natural resources in New Zealand provides another dimension for agricultural extensionists to consider, alongside the economic and bio-physical dynamics of farming systems. New processes for on-farm learning and system adaptation are needed that address the legal and statutory obligations being imposed on farmers to reflect the values of communities, industry and central government.

DairyNZ and private consultants have worked together with the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council to assist dairy farmers in that region comply with the regulations while improving on-farm productivity. Dairy farmers in the Waikawa Catchment applied for their landuse consents before the end of 2015 to reduce their estimated nutrient contamination in the catchment by between 5-15%. The significant change enabling this to happen has been that extension participants found that by collaborating across organisations they have been able to join up their capabilities for the good of the industry, rural communities and future generations.

Collaborative Extension, a draft, submitted to the “Rural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal, 2016”.

Selecting farm practices and preparing farm plans for land-use consents in the Manawatu-Wanganui region


Throughout 2014, the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council and DairyNZ worked with 10 farm consultants assisting dairy farmers preparing farm plans for the regional OnePlan and reducing their risks of contaminating local waterways. The author examines 25 such farm plans from 5 consultants and explains the selection and bundling together of the practices in the plans. The farm plans included a range of similar mitigation practices beginning with the least cost options to achieve reductions in nitrate losses of 5 – 15%. The results indicate the importance of matching potential practices to particular farming systems and farmer circumstances. This work suggests that a short list of practices may be able to be selected for application on farms in specific areas. The impact of those practices upon each farm business will need to be determined for the individual farms in order to reliably enhance farm sustainability and viability.

NZGA 2015, a draft prepared for “Proceedings of the 77th Annual Grassland Conference, vol.77, pp. 275-279”. 2015

Adapting Manawatu Dairy Farms to Regional Council Catchment Targets


The Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council (MWRC) One Plan has identified 29 sensitive water management sub-zones of catchments. The approximately 420 dairy farmers in these sub-zones must prepare farm plans describing the practices that they will use to manage the impacts of potential nutrient, sediment and microbial contamination of their farms. They then use these plans to support their application to the MWRC for a landuse consent.

DairyNZ has worked with MWRC to put in place a pilot project that assists farmers formulate the farming system changes required in their farm plans and to apply for their consents. Two examples are described in this paper of relatively high producing farmers that have successfully participated in the project. These farmers intend to modify their farming systems including increasing their use of dairy effluent, reducing nitrogen fertiliser, improving feed flow, and herd composition, to increase dairy production by 5-15% and at the same time decrease their estimated nitrate leaching by over 10%.

In both examples the farmers have committed themselves to making changes that could be difficult to implement in an uncertain future. The changes will require the farmers to develop their existing skills in farm management even further. Both sets of farmers are motivated by wanting their communities and the public to be more positive about the contribution of dairying to the economy, New Zealand’s way of life and our national environmental stewardship.

Parminter & Ridsdale, a draft, prepared for “Moving farm systems to improved attenuation. (Eds L.D. Currie and L.L Burkitt). Occasional Report No. 28. Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand”, 2015.

Community Values for Guiding Water Policy in the Wellington Region


Wellington Regional Council has identified community values and objectives to guide fresh and coastal water policy development. In over twenty workshops people identified commercial use values for the consumption of water to obtain a financial return. They had direct use values for activities that required contact or consumption of water without expecting a financial return. They had intrinsic values associated with the existence of waterway form and function unrelated to any expected practical or material benefit for humans. People also expressed indirect use values related to the contribution of water and waterways towards social and cultural well-being.

Values, a draft prepared for “Proceedings of the New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society 2014 Conference”, 2014.

Industry-led Natural Resource Extension in the Tararua District. Extended abstract and poster in proceedings of the 2013 Australasian and Pacific Extension Network international conference, Christchurch, New Zealand.


The DairyLink – Tararua project involved dairy farmers, industry leaders and community leaders in the Tararua district. The participants worked together at finding ways to improve productivity and reduce the environmental impacts of dairy farming on the Manawatu River catchment. The project was an initiative of Tararua community leaders in response to the proposed regulation of agriculture that had been included in the proposed Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council One-Plan.

In 2010 the number of dairy herds in the Tararua District had dropped from 370 herds in 1990 to 315. Over the same time period farm size had almost doubled to 116 hectares. The average herd size had increased from 150 to 315 cows and stocking rates increased to 2.7 cows per hectare. Production for 2009-2010 had increased from 280 kg ms per cow in 1990 to 330kg ms per cow and 900kg ms per hectare.

Parminter TG, Ridsdale S, Riley K, 2013. Industry-led Natural Resource Extension in the Tararua District. Extended abstract and poster in proceedings of the 2013 Australasian and Pacific Extension Network international conference, Christchurch, New Zealand.