Wintering is a significant cost to all farmers across Southland and Otago, 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 and sediment 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 resultant 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.
Read our factsheet on intensive winter grazing
For more information on the effects of wintering, take a look at the report The impacts of animal wintering on water and soil quality.