Statement on winter grazing campaign

2019-07-31T15:42:00 Pacific/Auckland

31 July 2019

Statement from Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell and deputy chairman Lloyd McCallum:

Intensive winter grazing practices have been in the spotlight this week, with a real focus on Southland. While some will argue the photos and footage shared with media painted the worst possible picture, taken after high rainfall, they do show wintering practices that we as a council will not accept, nor can the farming industry.

Some farmers need to step up significantly to avoid tarring the whole industry with the same brush.

In the last few years Environment Southland has been working with farmers and industry representatives, and utilising regular media channels to ensure the minimum standards of good practice are understood and adopted. By simply planning, adopting good practice and seeking advice, farmers should be able to prepare and mitigate for most scenarios. There is no excuse for ignorance of good practice, or for the rules around winter grazing.

It was very disappointing to hear that on a recent aerial monitoring flight a lack of good practices being applied was noted. Two further flights are to occur in the next week or two.

Our expectation is that farmers will reflect on their winter grazing practices now, and start to prepare for next season. Paddock selection, managing critical sources areas (swales) and fencing are all critical aspects to any winter grazing operation. The rules for winter grazing have changed, and they do include a number of good management practices that must be adopted for the activity to remain permitted. If farmers cannot meet those minimum requirements, then a consent may be required. Please seek advice on this early. Farmers can also get advice on good practices and preparing farm plans from our land sustainability team or from their industry representatives.

We encourage those of you adopting good practice to speak up at your catchment group meetings, support your peers to do better, and if you see someone needing help talk to them directly, or seek some support from Environment Southland or others in your industry.

Page reviewed: 31 Jul 2019 3:42pm