May 16, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Rotorua to host a national conference on Biological Farming

3 min read

A two-day national conference on biological farming for the benefit of New Zealand farming community will be held in Rotorua in October 2011. The theme of the conference is Towards a Sustainable Farming by farmers, for farmers.

Malcolm Short, Chairman of the Rotorua Lakes and Land Trust (RLLT) announced that the Trust will host this two-day national conference. The RLLT is a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Rotorua/Taupo Federated Farmers.

Some of the topics for discussion during the conference will include: Biological farming & water quality; Biological farming & carbon; Biological farming & farming community and any other topics that are relevant to current needs.

The conference will be of interest to dairy farmers, Maori land owners, soil scientists, regional councils, fertiliser companies, ecologists, conservationists, land management specialists.

Farmers using biological farming systems have observed positive changes to soil, and improvements in plant and animal health.

In addition to scientific presentations, the conference will also invite farmers using various biological fertilisers for a number of years to share their experiences.

Biological farming is a holistic approach to modify and improve soil conditions for beneficial microbes to increase soil microbial activity that helps speed-up nutrient cycling.

Because of paradigm shift in the way we manage dairy farms, some people are bit reluctant to change their thinking although many farmers in New Zealand are adopting biological farming, said Malcolm Short, Chairperson of the RLLT, and Chairperson of the conference organising committee.

These farmers are looking for any opportunity to reduce environmental damage without compromising economics.

Mr Short said that the Trust was set up to study nutrient leaching into water, which is of major interest to farmers on the Central Plateau with its nutrient sensitive lakes. The Vallance Project, named after the late Rick Vallance, is the Trusts research project into biological farming.

The conference will provide an opportunity for farmers to share their field observations Mr Short added.

A field trip will be organised on the second day of the conference so that participants can visit some selected biological farms.

The conference trip will help participants to see, learn and share knowledge with the farmers directly, said Gifford McFadden, Project Leader of Vallance Project and RLLT Trustee.

The RLLT, in association with Crown Research Institute Scion, has been studying biological farming systems.

Our initial interests are to look at the nitrogen leaching under biological and conventional farming, Mr McFadden added.

Mr McFadden said there is much interest in the farming community. The group has received emails and phone calls from farmers who have adopted biological farming systems, producers of biological fertilisers, people who have researched on biological farming, and even general public.

Mr McFadden advised that the RLLT appointed Dr Guna Magesan, a senior scientist from Scion, as its scientific leader/adviser. Dr Magesan, who is experienced in organising both scientific and community conferences, will be helping to organise this national conference.

This national conference provides a platform for the biological farming groups to come together, work together, and grow together, said Dr Guna Magesan.

Dr Magesan suggested that people who are interested in biological farming need to form an association to promote biological farming in New Zealand, and also to provide a forum for growing the status of biological farming in New Zealand.

For more information, please contact

Gifford McFadden
Trustee, Rotorua Lakes and Lands Trust
Phone: 07 333 8079
Mob: 0272814364

For conference registration/sponsorship

Dr Guna Magesan
[email protected]
Phone: 07 343 5587

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