Heather Collins

Doctor of Philosophy, (Agriculture and Horticulture)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Dairy farmers' responses to water quality interventions: A Case Study in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

New Zealand freshwater quality has declined, and dairy farming is one identified contributor to this decline. Government and the dairy industry progressively introduced a suite of water quality interventions to encourage and enforce dairy farm management practice change. Mrs Collins explored Manawatu-Wanganui dairy farmers’ responses to water quality interventions, and found farmers responded as individuals and as a collective of dairy farmers. She also explored the socio-cultural dynamics that shaped farmers’ individual and collective responses. Social interactions through social networks, trust, social norms and being a ‘good’ farmer that uses ‘best’ farm practice were key influencers of dairy farmers’ individual and collective responses. In conclusion, dairy farm management practice change is a social process, or a process of exchanging information and knowledge, questioning, challenging and reinforcing what is considered ‘best’ practice. Mrs Collins’ research provides a valuable contribution to the design and implementation of environmental policy interventions.

Dr David Gray
Dr Janet Reid
Professor Nicola Shadbolt
Dr Liz Dooley