Good winter grazing practices can be straightforward and the time to start is now.
Carefully planning how you winter graze your stock to reduce impacts on waterways is one way you can make a difference.
If we’re proactive in using good management practices we will see better environmental outcomes for our communities.
This is because intensive winter grazing practices have a significant impact on Southland’s water quality. Wintering is a significant cost to all farmers across Southland, on average making up 20-25% of farm working expenses for dairy farmers in particular.
We are interested in the environmental impacts of wintering, particularly the loss of nitrate to groundwater via leaching, and the loss of phosphorus, sediment and bacteria to surface water via overland flow.
Feeding stock on a winter crop or grass behind an electric fence results in bare, often pugged soil, with concentrated amounts of effluent on the soil surface. Rainfall and the resulting overland flow can transport sediment and effluent into drains and waterways. This results in the loss of valuable topsoil which can silt up drains and affect tile outfalls, as well as increasing the number of bugs and pathogens in waterways.
You can get help or advice with your plan for winter grazing by talking to one of our land sustainability team. Give us a call on 0800 76 88 45 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of our team will be happy to help.
Set up a wintering plan - Check out this page for info on the things to consider when making a plan for your winter grazing
Animal welfare - Looking after animals is a key part of the winter grazing programme. Check out this link for more information and support.
Winter Grazing Taskforce - In August 2019, Minister for Primary Industries Damien O'Connor announced he was establishing a taskforce to respond to the animal welfare issues associated with the practice of winter grazing.
Southland Action Plan - Local government, agencies and industry groups have come together in Southland to develop an action plan for winter grazing, with the aim of supporting the farming community to make the right choices for next winter (2020)
Practical advice - There’s a couple of links (including videos) from Beef + Lamb NZ that include practical information designed to help you with winter grazing.
Factsheets and useful pages
Factsheet - Intensive winter grazing
Factsheet - Managing critical source areas
Factsheet - Cultivation
Factsheet - Farm Environment Management Plans
Page - Farm Environment Management Plans and advice
Page - Catch cropping
What rules do I follow?
Nationally and regionally New Zealand is grappling with how to achieve better environmental outcomes and the need to do some things differently.
If we continue to apply the existing rules as we get ready for next winter, then we are heading in the right direction.
If you’re not sure about the current rules or consent requirements for winter grazing, please have a look at the factsheets or give our consents team a call on 0800 76 88 45.