The Green Party's plan to help Kiwi farmers transition from traditional agriculture to regenerative and organic practices is a bit redundant, according to Dr Doug Edmeades.

Most farmers are already using many regenerative agriculture practices, such as rotational grazing, and zero tillage, the soil scientist told The Country's Jamie Mackay.

"Let's not delude ourselves that if we follow RA, we will improve soil health, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality - that's nonsense."

Edmeades listened with interest to yesterday's interview with Green Party co-leader James Shaw, where the Minister said regenerative agriculture would result in better profits for farmers.


Even though organic and regenerative agriculture can result in a 30 to 40 per cent drop in productivity, this was offset by an increase in revenue from the premium products, said Shaw.

Dr Doug Edmeades. Photo / Supplied
Dr Doug Edmeades. Photo / Supplied

Edmeades disagreed.

"A client of mine - certified organic dairy farm for seven years - best production they did under organics was 70,000 milk solids - they converted and went up to 120,000. The margin for the produce was $1 per milk solid. In other words - it wasn't economic."

He also said a formal study, conducted by accountants in Australia, had compared conventional farms with those following regenerative agriculture for 15 years.

"The return on assets was 4.2 per cent for the conventional farms and 1.6 per cent for RA farms. In other words - it's not economic this whole RA thing."

Edmeades was interested in another aspect of Shaw's interview, where the Green Party co-leader suggested that sequestration from grass, trees and shelter belts may be taken into account when calculating greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Edmeades this meant the Minister was admitting that farming was carbon neutral.

Listen below:

"The plan is to tax farmers for the output of methane - carbon, but not to give them credit for the input of carbon that the animal gets from the grass.


"So the animal itself is carbon neutral - in fact the animal sequesters carbon in its leather. Given that stock numbers are declining, then the amount of methane in the air is also declining."