New Zealand grounds helicopters stressing out dairies

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In the Waikato region of New Zealand, just south of Auckland on the country's North Island, helicopters looking for manure disposal compliance were grounded due to the stress they were causing to the country's dairy farmers.

Waikato's Regional Council charged the helicopters with looking for effluent running into waterways. But two industry groups - Federated Farmers and Dairy Women's Network - fought against the practice due to high suicide rates for farmers in the region and the invasion of privacy.

The council decided to ground all helicopters due to the complaints and will take up the issue again later in the month.

Waikato has a population of about 418,500 people and relies heavily on the dairy industry. In a district the size of Vermont, there are about 3,500 dairies and 1.1 million cows representing over 25% of New Zealand's dairy herd. The average farm size in the region is about 320 cows, according to DairyNZ and LIC.

Source: Radio New Zealand

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