Perceptions of sustainability of dairy support land farmers
This project investigated how successful dairy support land (DSL) farmers perceive sustainability, how they use DSL to achieve their goals and the way that these perceptions vary across locations and types of DSL. Seventeen farmers were interviewed using Yin’s case study method (Yin, 2003). The list of interviewees was derived from focus group meetings with rural professionals undertaken to assist with developing a set of theoretical propositions regarding sustainability. Separation into economic, environmental and social sustainability does not reflect how farmers understand or perceive sustainability of DSL. Their perceptions are better described by separation into issues internal to the farm system and issues external to the farm system. Those who acquire DSL do so primarily in order to reduce the number of factors that fall outside the farm and outside their control. For those interviewed, feed grown is the best measure of the effectiveness of DSL management; more feed grown means more control over cost of bought in feed and cow condition. For DSL to be sustainable (i.e. to grow feed), it must be fully resourced. There must be time to plan and carry out essential tasks and environmentally important developments such as riparian fences and stockwater systems should be in place. If the DSL is not fully resourced, loss of control will result in unreliable supply of feed, cows calving in poor condition and overextended farm staff and management. Poor control over environmental effects is also highly likely. There is little difference in farmers’ perceptions of sustainability and practice across a variety of soil and climatic conditions in Canterbury and Southland.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsdairy support land; perceptions of sustainability; Yin’s case study method; sustainability; farmer perceptions
Fields of Research070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
TypeConference Contribution - published (Conference Paper)
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