The Government’s confirmation it is shelving the unworkable pugging and sowing date rules in its latest intensive winter grazing proposal is positive for farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says.
The controversial pugging and resowing date rules have been replaced with a practical management approach under the revised intensive winter grazing proposals, which have just been released for public consultation.
“We, and other industry groups, have for some time been calling on the Government to replace the pugging and sowing date rules with sensible and pragmatic alternatives,” says Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ.
“It is positive for farmers that we now have clarity on the proposed approach in this area, which aligns with the recommendations of the Southland Winter Grazing advisory group last December.
“We believe the Government’s new proposed approach, which focuses on practical management by farmers, is more workable - and that’s progress.
“But we still have concerns around the proposed revised 10-degree slope rule for winter grazing and the certified freshwater farm plan process.
“The Government has proposed an improvement on the slope rule, but we still think the approach is more restrictive than it needs to be to manage the environmental risks. For example, we’d like to see flexibility in situations where there is no receiving water body nearby.
“We will be seeking feedback from farmers on the proposed new slope rule to inform our submission on this area and hope it will be possible to work towards a practical solution.”
B+LNZ also welcomes the six-month further deferral of the application of the winter grazing rules to allow time for the certified freshwater farm plans to be in put place and for this to be an alternative pathway for farmers needing to get a consent.
“However, we want to better understand the certified freshwater farm plan process as it relates to intensive winter grazing.
“B+LNZ does support a farm plan approach to providing alternative pathways through more prescriptive regulation. We have created a winter grazing module to our farm plan and extension resources to support farmers adopt best practice when undertaking these activities and would support this approach being picked up by the intensive winter grazing regulation.
“Without having visibility of the exact text of the certified freshwater farm plan, however, and given the requirement to demonstrate environmental outcomes would be the same as the rules, we have reservations about how workable the proposed farm plan approach will actually be.
“We are urging the Government to work with industry on ensuring that the certified freshwater farm plan process is practical, effects based and based on industry plans.
“It is vital that we get this right to ensure that the certified freshwater farm plans are actually a practical and desirable alternative for farmers as compared to a consenting regime,” says Mr McIvor.
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Katie Jans on email@example.com or 027 838 6353