Far awarded almost $2m for research

Four projects, which will address issues of nitrogen leaching, dairy grazing on cropping farms, Argentine stem weevil and slugs, are to be funded from the Ministry for Primary Industry's 2014 Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF).

The Foundation for Arable Research (Far) has been awarded more than $1.8 million for the four research projects.

Nick Pyke, chief executive officer for Far, said it was a pleasing result and the four projects were a good fit for the levy-funded organisation's research portfolio.

''Our aim, as a research organisation, is to increase the profitability and sustainability of cropping farm systems. Each of these four projects was developed as a result of industry consultation and ... is focused quite clearly on on-farm issues faced by our growers. Any information which helps to provide solutions to these problems will be a big help for them.''

Far will partner with other primary industry sectors, Crown research institutes and regional councils in funding and carrying out the projects.

Work will begin later this year.

There were 31 projects approved in the latest round of funding through SFF, covering issues from water quality to climate change. The government will contribute $9.9 million and $8.7 million will come from co-funders.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the one common factor in the projects was they would deliver real economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand's primary industries. They would make a real difference to regional communities.

''For example, a project addressing water quality issues in the Opihi catchment aims to increase profitability and productivity while reducing the environmental impacts on catchment farms.

''The project will do this by working with dairy, sheep, beef, cropping and deer farmers to ensure they understand water quality issues and realistic land management solutions to improve the quality of the surface and ground water in the Opihi catchment,'' Mr Guy said.

The SFF has now received $122.8 million in government funding across 906 projects.

The 2015-16 funding round will be launched in July.

- by Maureen Bishop