Some of the requirements for winter grazing which were to come into effect in May 2021 have been changed and further delayed until November 2022.
Changes have been made to the default conditions: slope, pugging, and resowing. A new condition around critical source areas has been added.
The changes were done by Government to address implementation issues following advocacy by DairyNZ and other groups to raise concerns on behalf of farmers about the practicality of these rules.
While these changes have been deferred, there is still a strong focus on making sure good wintering practice is being used on-farm – both by the Government and the public.
If you are planning on expanding the area you use for winter grazing above the maximum area used in the reference period, then you need a consent.
You might also need consent if you cannot comply with any of the default conditions.
Check with your regional council before applying.
The regulations introduce a reference period which is the period from July 1, 2014 and ended June 30, 2019.
The regulations put a hold on expanding IWG activities above the area used in the reference period.
This is still in force and should be followed for the intensive winter grazing to be a permitted activity.
This means that the area of intensive winter grazing on the farm cannot be larger than the maximum area used in the period 2014-2019.
If the farm didn’t have any area for intensive winter grazing during this period, consent will be needed.
What is important here is the word ‘farm’.
A farm is defined as a landholding whose activities include agriculture.
A landholding means one or more parcels of land that are managed as a single operation.
The intensive winter grazing limits apply to a ‘farm’, which is defined as one or more parcels of land (that may or may not be contiguous) that are managed as a single operation.
Thus, if a run-off and milking platform are managed as a single operation, they can be considered together to determine compliance with the requirements for intensive winter grazing.
Both the maximum area winter grazed during the reference period, and the 50ha or 10 per cent (whichever is the greater) permitted activity criteria apply.
- By Pat Deavoll