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Farming and Agriculture

Without sunshine, soil and water there is nothing

The practices of Govt. Regional and District Councils result in the poisoning of the water and soil
 |  Malcolm Campbell  | 
Man in tractor on Farm

Much has been written in the previous two items number twenty-one and twenty-two, about heavy applications of phosphate fertiliser. In bygone years, it was credited as being the backbone of New Zealand agricultural production. But how much is enough and how much is too much?

In 2005, Waikato Regional Council released a report titled, THE CONDITION OF RURAL SOIL AND WATER IN THE WAIKATO REGION – Sub heading RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES. This extensive report ran to fifty-four pages of detailed information about what is happening in our waterways, groundwater, our soils, and the effects of changes in farming practices and those effects on soil structure and so on. The report was delivered to interested organisations and branches of Federated Farmers. One copy was sent to me for study to report back to our local branch members. No, there was no discussion about the report at branch level, as three days after the release of the document, the Regional Council asked for all copies to be returned to the Council.

A hurried trip into town saw a photocopy made and the original returned to the Council. This was an astonishing development released one day and withdrawn three days later. A great deal of study had been undertaken as multiple references are made to scientific papers including names of various authors, contributing results of experiments and observations made including overseas data. There have been some blunders made in the past and one of these highlighted the trouble with the persistence of DDT which takes around thirty years to break down in the soil. Areas were deemed unsuitable for dairying because the soil was contaminated with DDT. In this report on page 26, this quote: ‘Cadmium is present in phosphate fertilisers. It occurs naturally in the rock deposits from which these fertilisers are made. Cadmium does not break down, so levels in the soil increase over time. Some cadmium is taken up by crops. People are then exposed to cadmium when they eat crops such as vegetables or wheat grown in soils with elevated content. Cadmium can be harmful to human health as it can damage the kidneys and liver. There is also tentative evidence that cadmium in the diet could increase the risk of some cancers.” End of quote.

There is more. The acceptable level of cadmium was set below 1mg/kg and already some soils in the Waikato exceed this level. Now this report issued 2005 estimated that in 15 years’ time (2020), the level of 1mg/kg would be exceeded in land used for dairying and would exceed the level used as a guideline for land being subdivided for housing development, as such land use is required to be fit to sustain human health. Cadmium is just one of the poisons being inflicted on the soil. DDT should have served as a warning to be careful but no, we now have excess nitrogen and phosphate in our waterways and the chemical poisons as well; all this happening under your feet and in front of your very eyes.

With all the poisoning going on in the soil, above the soil and in the waterways, it is little wonder that the microbiology is being hit; the insect life is now diminishing, the water dwellers, the frogs, trout, whitebait and now even the ducks are rapidly declining in number. Millions of dollars have been spent to arrive at this point.