The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council will work closely with farmers to encourage best practices in winter grazing, ahead of new regulations coming into effect next year.
Yesterday the Government announced it has deferred the introduction of Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) practice regulations for a year until May 2022. This will allow for improvements in IWG practice relating to freshwater to be achieved primarily through freshwater farm plans.
Intensive winter grazing is a farming practice where stock are confined to outdoor feeding areas planted with fodder crops.
Regional Council group manager of policy and regulation Katrina Brunton says the council supports the move to allow for more development of on the ground practice to deliver more robust regulation.
“We will support farmers to put in place better practices such as providing buffers around waterways and critical source areas, to improve freshwater quality and animal welfare. We will increase our monitoring of IWG practices, and continue our effective monitoring of rivers and estuaries to show if their health is improving,” she says.
Landowners who want to expand their winter grazing area will still be required to to apply for a discretionary activity consent with strict conditions, she says.
The one year deferment will enable an IWG farm plan ‘module’ to be developed and ready for formal incorporation into wider certified freshwater farm plans in 2022.
A draft IWG farm plan module has been developed by the Southland Advisory Group, which includes Environment Southland, Dairy NZ, Beef + Lamb, Fish and Game, Federated Farmers and with input from iwi and Local Government NZ.
Landowners who need advice about IWG practices can get in touch with a Regional Council advisor on 06 835 9200.
18 March 2021
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