Excluding stock from waterways is, in most situations, the single most effective management practice on a farm for improving water quality. Find out more about stock exlusion rules on this page.
Stock activity can damage the bed and banks of our waterways. Dung, urine and sediment can also seriously impact water quality, the lives of animals living there and mahinga kai values.
New regulations under the Essential Freshwater package mean that stock must be kept at least three metres from our waterways.
This is being applied in a phased approach up to 1 July 2025.
The stock exclusion rules apply to beef cattle, dairy cows, dairy support cows, pigs and deer, and are slightly different for each. Sheep are excluded from the new regulations’,
The dates by which each stock type must exclude from waterways are detailed below.
There are currently amendments being proposed to some of the Stock Exclusion (s360) regulations (low slope map)
For more information read the Ministry for the Environment's consultation on the changes
The Stock Exclusion Regulations 2020 require stock on new pastoral systems to be excluded from lakes and wide rivers (rivers with a bed wider than one-metre) with a three-metre minimum setback.
If a permanent fence was already in place on 3 September 2020, the three-metre minimum setback doesn’t apply.
A permanent fence is defined as a post and batten fence with driven or dug fence posts, an electric fence with at least two electrified wires and driven or dug fence posts, or a deer fence.
Stock must also be fully excluded from wetlands. There is no minimum setback distance.
FOOTNOTE: for the purposes of the stock exclusion rules intensive grazing is break feeding, or grazing on annual forage crops , or grazing on pasture that has been irrigated with water in the past 12 months.
Rivers and lakes
Stock can cross lakes and rivers if they are supervised and actively driven across the waterbody. Stock cannot cross the same lake or river more than twice in any month.
Where stock will be crossing a river or lake more than twice in any month, a dedicated bridge or culvert must be installed.
If you have any questions about the new Essential Freshwater regulations for stock exclusion, please contact us.
The rule of thumb is that we do not want to see stock standing in water. This may mean excluding stock all year round or just excluding them in winter.
Planting and management of riparian strips alongside waterways is not a condition of the Tukituki Plan Change. It is actively encouraged because it has multiple benefits for both water quality and biodiversity, and can also help with farm management. The regional council has good quality native plants for sale – further information is provided
The definition of stock unit that the Regional Council uses are the same as those used in the Beef & Lamb survey, and for benchmarking stock classes not included in the survey, the overseer defaults are used.
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