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
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
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.