The Possible Implications of a Nitrogen Cap on Farming Businesses within the Lake Taupo Catchment

This paper is an Industry-based project for MBA, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia.

This paper is not a Motu publication, but has been made available in order to make it accessible to a wider audience with interest in the Lake Taupo Nitrogen Trading programme. 

The intention behind this project is to bring together the significant array of knowledge and data on the issue of sustainable farming within the catchment of Lake Taupo for existing and intending catchment landholders.

The large number of contributors to the issue and the range of research objectives they are attempting to meet has made it difficult for catchment landholders to make informed business decisions. Put another way the project is not an attempt to bring new scientific knowledge to bear on the issue but rather to make what is already available more commercially useable. However the project does attempt to establish the dollar value of nitrogen credits should they become a tool in the management of nitrogen emissions.

While the social and economic impacts of a nitrogen market have been subject to some discourse, to date I know of no research that has valued nitrogen credits. I believe landholders need such information before legislation is passed on the issue and before a nitrogen market is established, in order that they can prepare their responses.In this report sustainable farming is defined as those farming practices that are carried out within the knowledge of their contribution to the catchment wide nitrogen emissions. It assumes the sum of all those activities will have returned Lake Taupo water quality to its year 2000 levels by the year 2080.