The new Intensive Winter Grazing regulations came into effect on 1 November and Beef + Lamb New Zealand is encouraging farmers who graze winter forage crops to become familiar with the regulation’s requirements.
While B+LNZ, along with other industry-good organisations, asked the Government to delay the implementation of Intensive Freshwater Regulations due to Government’s Freshwater Farm Plans not yet being available, however the request was not accepted.
B+LNZ’s Environment Policy Manager, Heather McKay, says that although B+LNZ is disappointed at the Governments response, now that the regulations are in place it is important farmers understand what a permitted activity is and when they might need to apply for a resource consent
“If in doubt, consult your regional council as there is variation in the way each council is implementing the rules.”
Mrs McKay says the activities the Intensive Winter Grazing regulations cover includes the area of crop permitted, the proximity of crops to waterways, the re-establishment of vegetation after livestock has finished grazing, pugging, the protection of Critical Source Areas and slope.
B+LNZ has fact sheets available which explain the regulations and how resource consents can be applied for. Some regional councils also have regionally specific intensive winter grazing information on their websites.
The slope regulation is one farmers need to consider as winter forage crops can only be established without a consent, on land that is 10 degrees or less, determined by measuring the slope over 20 metres.
“Where paddocks exceed that 10-degree limit, farmers will need to consult with their regional council to determine the particular resource consent requirements and process specific to that region.”
Mrs McKay says B+LNZ’s advice and support around good intensive winter grazing practices, including all farmers having a written winter grazing plan, remains current. However, there is now a regulatory component for farmers to consider.
“All farmers undertaking any intensive winter grazing should have a documented plan that identifies on-farm actions consistent with good management practices, they need to understand the regulations and whether their wintering practices are a permitted activity, or require resource consent. If a consent is likely required, contact their regional council for advice around the process”.
She says winter forage crops are a valuable part of many sheep and beef systems and B+LNZ wants to support farmers to help them make the best use of these crops while protecting their livestock and soil, water and nutrient resources.
Further information and factsheets are available at beeflambnz.com/wintergrazing