Pāmu (formerly Landcorp) has released a farm environment plan for New Zealand’s largest farm, which brings together all the values associated with farming in Molesworth into the future.
The report provides an operational plan developed for Pāmu and is separate to the Management Plan for the Molesworth Recreation Reserve.
Dr Alison Dewes, Pāmu Head of Environment, said the Integrated Land Use and Farm Environment Plan for Molesworth Station, which was undertaken by Erica van Reenen, of AgFirst, demonstrates how farming not only supports the many values but can also enhance them.
“Farming on Molesworth is a privilege and being able to farm this iconic station on behalf of kiwis is a responsibility Pāmu doesn’t take lightly. We commissioned this plan because we need to recognise all of the values associated with the land and demonstrate how farming can support and enhance these values.
“Farm plans in 2020 need to be dynamic and living and must be able to respond to legislation, social expectations and the health of our natural world.
“The Plan makes it clear that we have learnt from past farming practice which means the stock we run on Molesworth now are kinder to the lowlands and ensures the high country is not over-grazed.
“In addition, the fact we are farming only about a third of the station at any one time means we can better support the recreational and ecological values of the land while maintaining a profitable farm system.
“Our investment in pest and weed control has helped support other core values of Molesworth, such as recreation, and to ensure the fire risk is minimised,” Dr Dewes said.
The Plan brings the relevant values associated with Molesworth together to provide an integrated land use approach which recognises that history, culture, place, people and the natural world are all connected and interrelated.
Key findings of the Plan include:
- Over the past two decades, stocking rate has been decreased by 40%,
- Phosphorus applications have halved, and are only applied to cropped areas now (80ha)
- Total nitrogen loss has reduced by 9% (on a per hectare basis)
- Greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by nearly 40%.
- Molesworth is the largest farm in the country. It is administered by the Department of Conservation under the Recreation Reserves Act (1977) and leased to Pāmu New Zealand.
- Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp, a Stated Owned Enterprise, and one of New Zealand’s most innovative farmers and food businesses. It is also the name given to the quality products created by the company. Pāmu is the Māori word ‘to farm’ and reflects the deep connection New Zealanders have with the land, born from respect, and a genuine desire to protect and enhance the environments in which the company works. It’s a proud provenance that stands behind every product bearing the Pāmu name.
“Pāmu has developed an integrated farm policy that works within the limits of the land and works with the rhythms of the seasons to minimise the impact of animals in sensitive areas while enabling a protective focus for the reserve – fire and pest-risk minimisation, infrastructure maintenance and integration of social, recreational and farming values,” Erica van Reenen said.
Dr Dewes says the cattle are farmed to match the land class suitable for supporting them and at low stock densities which ensures productive, healthy cattle, and low-environmental impact.
The Plan identifies a range of actions to further improve environmental outcomes on Molesworth. These include encouraging cattle away from waterways, weed and pest management, minimising fertiliser inputs, cultivation, and the use of cropping, managing high risk areas, ensuring overgrazing does not occur and ongoing monitoring and data collection is occurring.
Dr Dewes said the actions identified have been or are planned to be implemented. The Plan also outlines further opportunities for recreation by enhancing Molesworth visitor’s experience with a deeper understanding of station life and its place in New Zealand’s history.
“While there is often tension between the values associated with Molesworth it is the view of Pāmu, which is supported by evidence, that farming has a place on the property which can support conservation values and positive environmental outcomes, a great recreational experience, and protect the history and culture associated with this special place,” Dr Dewes said.
Alison Dewes, Head of Environment, Pāmu: 021 242 4949
Erica van Reenen, AgFirst: 027 455 5616