Overseer is a tool used by many farmers to help manage nutrient loss. It’s also used by some regional councils to model nutrient losses for planning, consenting, and auditing. An independent scientific review of the tool has just been published by the Government.
The Science Advisory Panel, established by the Ministry of Primary Industries and Ministry for the Environment, concluded that, while Overseer is not broken, it is not fit for purpose as a regulatory tool. There is a lack of confidence in its ability to estimate nitrogen lost from farms. The Government has committed to continuing to support Overseer for the next 12 months while issues raised by the Panel’s Report, and possible options to address those issues, are resolved.
We know that our farming community is committed to sustainable practices, and many of you will be using Overseer in your farm plans to manage nutrient loss. Our advice to you is:
We don’t use this tool for regulatory purposes, so our approach to nutrient management will not change.
We’re working with the Ministry and other regional councils to develop more accurate ways to estimate nutrient loss, which is important to both farmers and the environment.
More information is available on the Ministry for the Environment website.