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The Water and Land Plan process, which started in June last year, is reaching the end of the hearing stage as more than 300 people, including farmers and representatives of groups, have spoken in support of their submissions.
In total, more than 900 submissions had been received on the plan.
The hearing panel is made up of Rob van Voorthuysen (chairman), Edward Ellison (independent commissioner) and Environment Southland councillors Lloyd McCallum, Eric Roy and Maurice Rodway.
Following the trend of recent months of hearings, winter grazing continued to be a major point of concern for submitters.
Earlier this month, Tussock Creek dairy farmer Peter Clinton, of Premier Dairies Ltd, said the winter grazing limitation of 20ha or 50ha would directly affect his farming operation and he could not understand why a number limitation would be put on winter grazing.
He also talked about his concerns with rule 38 in regards to animal and vegetative waste and the closed period in the plan of May 1 to September 30.
Mr Clinton said this was a very closed period.
''Having storage for that period is not practical.''
Mr Clinton told the panel about his brother who farmed in Ireland and how, regardless of soil moisture, farmers were out spreading effluent as soon as the closed period there was finished.
Soil moisture was a far better indicator of when to apply effluent, he said.
He also spoke about pond drop tests and whether there was a need to go to this expense with ponds that were lined and had processes in place that could identify whether or not they were leaking.
The Pourakino Catchment Group and the Three Rivers Catchment Group also spoke in support of their submissions at the hearing earlier this month.
Opus resource management planner Luke McSoriley, along with Dave Diprose, David Clarke and Jon Pemberton, spoke on behalf of the two catchment groups.
Mr McSoriley said there should be more collaboration between Environment Southland and the catchment groups.
''Catchment groups can be a positive force on the ground.''
Mr Pemberton, who is a dairy farmer at Brydone, said the Three Rivers Catchment Group was formed about two years ago and officially set up 18 months ago.
There was already ongoing work in the catchment group to improve water quality and it needed to be recognised, Mr Pemberton said.
''This plans needs to recognise the role a catchment group plays in the community. This will go a long way to supporting farmers to keep their goodwill.''