Final winter grazing flights
Farmers should be commended for their efforts to improve winter grazing practices, following the final aerial winter grazing inspections which took place this week.
Chief executive Rob Phillips said this year’s inspections have seen widespread examples of good practice, following concerns expressed in 2019.
“I’m impressed that farmers have taken up the advice given to mitigate the effects of winter grazing on the environment, despite the many challenges this year has presented.
“We know implementing good management practices, such as back fencing, buffer zones and being mindful of critical source areas, can make a big difference and we are seeing the results of that this year.”
However, Mr Phillips said it is important farmers do not become complacent as although so far this winter has been relatively mild, there’s still some time to go and we can never predict what next year will bring. Farmers should now turn their focus to preparing for the next season and continue to build on the good work they have done.
“Intensive winter grazing continues to be under the spotlight, it’s a high risk activity in relation to water quality and needs to be managed very carefully.”
There have been three compliance aerial inspection flights undertaken this year and only a small number of properties have required follow-up, mostly relating to education around critical source areas and back fencing. It was also noted that there was significantly reduced winter crop grazing being undertaken, with a number of alternative options being used, such as wintering barns.
Farmers are now being encouraged to ensure good planning for their winter grazing for next year.
“Planning now is the key to next year’s success. Choosing the right paddocks and taking into account things like critical source areas will set farmers up for a good year.”
A joint approach by Environment Southland, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, MfE and MPI, was developed last year to tackle winter grazing issues.
Anybody needing assistance or advice can get in touch with Environment Southland or any one of the industry groups.