July 26, 2016

Fonterra: Predator-free New Zealand critical to dairy industry




Fonterra has welcomed the New Zealand government's goal of making the country predator-free by 2050.


"This is a hugely significant goal, and one that the dairy industry shares," said Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra's director of social responsibility. "A predator-free New Zealand would have significant benefits for New Zealand's environment as well as help with animal TB (tuberculosis) eradication."


Tuberculosis and other diseases carried by possums and rats have a high on-going cost to farmers, as well as to dairy companies investing in pest control for the protection of production facilities. Mortland said that New Zealand dairy companies are working together on the issue, and have made a $3 million commitment over two years for investment in the Zero Invasive Predators research project. ZIP's vision is to completely removing rats, stoats and possums from large areas of the mainland, and keep them out.


The funding includes an innovative predator enclosure at Lincoln University that allows trials of new technology to more rapidly take pest-control concepts through to real world solutions. Research is also underway on lowering the height of predator fences to that of a standard 1.1m farm fence, which has huge potential to exclude rats, possums and stoats from farms and dairy production sites.


"Having the dairy industry contribute funding to this type of research is a critical part of being responsible stewards of the land," Mortland added. "The ambitious goal set by the government gives us real encouragement that these types of programmes will get the ongoing support and partnership that is needed to deliver results. It's our hope that ZIP will be a key player in helping New Zealand achieve the government's target, and deliver results for both our environment and economy."


The ZIP investment sits within an overall $16 million per annum investment in pest management from the dairy industry.

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