Together we have reviewed resources within our libraries to help refresh your thinking as you plan your winter grazing paddock management.
Over the last few years, we have delivered a number of collaborative wintering grazing support events both in person and online. The messages remain the same and with everyone juggling many priorities, we have repackaged the relevant content for you to view as you see fit.
Careful planning for winter allows you to winter animals in a way that ensures they are well fed and in good health and manage the environmental impacts.
- View Part 1: principles around good wintering management
- View Part 2: making plans and risk assessments
- View Part 3: actioning plan B and research
There has been a noticeable change in winter grazing practices in recent years, in response to farmers having a better understanding of the impact of their management decisions on their soil and water resources.
While the outcome of the Government’s review of the winter forage crop grazing regulations don’t come into force until November 2022, farmers are still being encouraged to continue to follow best practice management irrespective of the outcomes.
You can view the updated rules here and we are planning further communications in July to help you understand these rules and their impacts prior to selecting your 2023 wintering areas.
We recommend over the next few weeks you sit down with your team and talk through your plan to minimise environmental risks and maintain animal welfare standards this winter.
Key aspects to think about:
Critical Source Areas (CSA)
- Strategic grazing around critical source areas is important to limit the environmental losses to your operation.
- You want to finish winter as you started with your CSA still intact and ungrazed.
- We recommend setting up buffer zones around waterways that are 5 metres minimum in width. Note that on slope buffer will need to be provided.
- With obvious feed shortages across the country, it is really important to calculate what feed you have on hand and are going to require over the winter to ensure that all stock are adequately feed. Planning now will set up for greater success.
- Should you need assistance with additional feed or have additional feed please register your support with the National feed coordination service.
Having a plan B
- What happens if it snows for a week or the crop tonnage doesn’t go as far as expected?
- Have a plan for adverse or bad weather events so that stock can be moved to minimise environmental damage and seek additional shelter if necessary is important.
Any concerns around winter grazing this year can once again be directed to 0800 FARMING (0800 32 76 46). This line will ensure that farmers are supported as we’re all very aware that a photo doesn’t tell the whole story, and that a photo can cast almost any paddock in a bad light if that is the intention of the person with the camera/cellphone.
We wish farmers all the best for winter of 2022 and encourage you to reach out to any of your local industry representatives should you require additional support.