While some West Coast dairy farmers caught up in storms last week have had to dispose of uncollected milk in an environmentally responsible way, Federated Farmers believes contingency planning by Westland Milk Products has saved most from loss.
“It has been a stressful week for West Coast farmers cut off following the bridge washout, but Westland’s contingency plan is working,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast dairy chairperson.
“I wish to assure the public that when they hear talk of milk being dumped, dairy farmers are really disposing of it into farm nutrient ponds. I need to assure the public milk is not entering our waterways.
“Farms affected by the washout will have sent milk to on-farm nutrient ponds and once diluted, will be spread back to pasture when conditions permit.
“While gutting to see high quality West Coast milk recycled as liquid fertiliser, at least it will help to grow healthy grass for healthy cows.
“As it stands, the only affected collection area is south of the Wanganui River. All other farms are being collected with 22 tanker loads going to Open Country Cheese’s plant in Southland for processing.
“While transport remains disrupted in South Westland at least most collections are taking place.
“Milk that does not make it to a factory means farmers will not be paid for it unless they have insurance in place. In my experience, many West Coast dairy farmers do.
“Federated Farmers appreciates the hard yards put in by Westland Milk Products to minimise loss. We also wish to pay tribute to the hard work of the NZ Transport Agency and its contractors, who should have the bridge reopened on Tuesday,” Mr Reynolds concluded.