Taranaki farmers are urged to order a-year-ahead to secure plants to protect water quality in the region.

This week about 400,000 plants will be collected to protect waterways, by streamside (riparian) planting as part of Taranaki's Riparian Management Programme. It is the biggest environmental programme on private land of its kind in New Zealand, but farmers are cautioned that they must order a-year-ahead of planned planting if they are to finish their riparian plans in time, 99.5 per cent of Taranaki dairy farmers have a riparian management plan.

Taranaki Regional Council (TRC), land services manager, Don Shearman, said the region's farmers bought plants "at cost" through Council's native plant scheme, to protect waterways by planting and fencing on private land. Savings through tendering and bulk purchases are passed on to farmers. However, unless farmers order a-year-ahead then contract growing couldn't accurately be tendered for to meet demand.

Contracts to grow plants in bulk had to be placed a year ahead, in June and July to meet the number of plants needed for the following year, he said.

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The scale and voluntary participation by farmers on the riparian programme is unique to Taranaki.

However, millions more riparian plants will be needed to finish riparian planting across all waterways, Mr Shearman says.

"Taranaki's got a lot to be proud of with the Riparian Management Programme. It's leading New Zealand in terms of scale and the voluntary participation of farmers, but the job's not finished yet" he said.

People need to plan-a-year-ahead to secure plants to finish the job, or we can't guarantee the plants will be there. The only way plants can be supplied at this scale is by advance ordering through Council's native plant scheme," Mr Shearman says.

A discount is being offered this year, people ordering for 2015 and 2016 will receive a 10 per cent discount on their 2016 plants. The offer is limited to the first 100,000 plants ordered.

TRC's monitoring shows about 80 per cent of waters are protected with fencing and 65 per cent with suitable vegetation since the programme was approved in 1993.