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Resilient Farming Systems

Resilient Farming Systems are adopted by leading farmers and land managers to enhance agricultural production and conserve natural resources through sustainable land use, and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council encourages its use.

What are Resilient Farming Systems? 

This describes the implementation farm management practices where interdependent activities are based on sound production methods and improved performance, while reducing the impact that system has on the environment. Components of a Resilient Farming Systems can sometimes also be called Industry Good Practice (IGP), or Good Management Practices.

Resilient Farming Systems can involve technology (such as precision agriculture), a change to a farming system, or simply adapting the way existing farm management practices are carried out.

Resilient Farming Systems also evolve with changes in science and technology and increased understanding of the environment. The system changes over time as new information is available and the outcome of research is implemented and adopted by farmers, growers, and landowners.

A key benefit of undertaking a Farm Plan is to recognise where interdependent elements and practices on farm relate to each other, and identifying where you could adopt extra ones to reduce risks to water quality from your farming operation. These practices often result in a more Resilient Farming System.

National Good Farming Principles

This list of principles comes from the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality 2018 which is based on the 2015 Industry-Agreed Good Management Practices Relating to Water Quality.

This list was developed with farmer-driven involvement from Dairy NZ, Deer Industry New Zealand, NZ Pork, Beef+LambNZ, Horticulture NZ and the Foundation for Arable Research, with funding also provided by central government and a number of regional councils.  While first applied in Canterbury, they were developed to be applicable across all regions of New Zealand.  Some minor updates were included following input from the Land Water Partnership, and the Regional Council Land Managers’ Group.

Each region is narrowing these principles to meet their own priorities, based on the most pressing water quality issues in the region/catchments and the causes, the range of solutions and likely impacts of practice change.

Hawke’s Bay Farming for Resilience Report 

The Hawke’s Bay Farming for Resilience pilot project is a collaboration between AgFirst and MPI initiated to support the region in its readiness for a forecast dry period and the challenging financial pressures sheep and beef farmers are currently experiencing.

Farming for Resilience Report - May 2024

Previous monthly reports

Farming for Resilience Report - April 2024

Farming for Resilience Report - March 2024

Farming for Resilience Report - February 2024

Good winter practice

Find out more about good winter practice on our page:

Intensive Winter Grazing

Tukituki Catchment

The Tukituki Plan requires Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to work with primary sectors to define good management practices particularly suited to the catchment.  For more information go to Tukituki pages.

Cross Industry Guide

Environment Canterbury (Canterbury Regional Council) has compiled a useful guide and list of industry-agreed good management practices relevant across New Zealand, and largely consistent across industries. The council worked with agricultural industry groups (dairy, outdoor pigs, deer, sheep and beef, arable and horticulture), research agencies and farmers to compile this list. 

Sector Specific Guides

Many primary sector organisations have invested a lot of time and money developing sector specific guidance about good management practice. This may help you to think about and discuss your farm plan with your chosen FEMP provider.


Watch our Boots & Utes video to see best practice and how you can take the right biosecurity steps for going onto rural properties! Remember - Clean On Clean Off!  


1.            Identify the physical and biophysical characteristics of the farm system, assess the risk factors to water quality associated with the farm system, and manage appropriately.

2.            Maintain accurate and auditable records of annual farm inputs, outputs and management practices.

3.            Manage farming operations to minimise direct and indirect losses of sediment and nutrients to water, and maintain or enhance soil structure, where agronomically appropriate.

4.            Monitor soil phosphorus levels and maintain them at or below the agronomic optimum for the farm system.

5.            Manage the amount and timing of fertiliser inputs, taking account of all sources of nutrients, to match plant requirements and minimise risk of losses.

6.            Store and load fertiliser to minimise risk of spillage, leaching and loss into water bodies

7.            Ensure equipment for spreading fertilisers is well maintained and calibrated.

8.            Store, transport and distribute feed to minimise wastage, leachate and soil damage.

9.            Identify risk of overland flow of sediment and faecal bacteria on the property and implement measures to minimise transport of these to water bodies.

10.          Locate and manage farm tracks, gateways, water troughs, self-feeding areas, stock camps, wallows and other sources of run-off to minimise risks to water quality.

11.          Exclude stock from water bodies to the extent that is compatible with land form, stock class and stock intensity. Where exclusion is not possible, mitigate impacts on waterways.

12.          Manage periods of exposed soil between crops/ pasture to reduce risk of erosion, overland flow and leaching.

13.          Manage or retire erosion prone land to minimise soil losses through appropriate measures and practices. (Implementing this principle may mean that Class 8 land is not actively farmed for arable, pastoral or commercial forestry uses as this land is generally unsuitable for these activities as described in the Land Use Capability Handbook.)

14.          Select appropriate paddocks for intensive grazing, recognising and mitigating possible nutrient and sediment loss from critical source areas

15.          Manage grazing to minimise losses from critical source areas.

16.          Ensure the effluent system meets industry specific Code of Practice or equivalent standard.

17.          Have sufficient, suitable storage available for farm effluent and wastewater.

18.          Ensure equipment for spreading effluent and other organic manures is well maintained and calibrated.

19.          Apply effluent to pasture and crops at depths, rates and times to match plant requirements and minimise risk to water bodies.

20.          Manage the amount and timing of irrigation inputs to meet plant demands and minimise risk of leaching and runoff.

21.          Design, check and operate irrigation systems to minimise the amount of water needed to meet production  objectives.

Feedlots and Feedpads

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Tips for winter grazing

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