Environmentalists say the intensive dairying is to blame for widespread land destruction of our land. Dairy cow numbers have doubled since the 1980s to six million and irrigation has nearly doubled since 2002. The report shows nationwide, 80 percent of sites fail soil quality tests, and soil quality targets are not stopping the environment being damaged. Greenpeace says the report laid bare the consequences of the government’s lax approach to regulating the dairy sector. However farmers say the figures show their environmental efforts are starting to have an impact.  DairyNZ’s Dr David Burger said dairy’s expansion in the mid-2000s caused environmental damage but it had levelled off. He says soil quality since 1994 has neither improved of declined, and dairy cow numbers have dropped slightly since 2014. He acknowledges there is still work to do.