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The inspection regime in Otago for dairy farm compliance with environmental regulations was disrupted by Covid-19 but — of the farms audited in the past year — few fell foul of the rules.
Otago Regional Council carried out 268 audits in the 2019-20 financial year, covering more than half of the region’s dairy farms.
That was a lower number than planned, because of a lack of site visits during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The region has 479 known dairy farms.
Nine properties were found to be moderately or significantly non-compliant on the first inspection.
Nobody was prosecuted, although an infringement notice and a formal warning were issued. Other properties were re-inspected or education measures were used.
Council staff found there was a better understanding this year of risks associated with irrigation.
In North Otago, some new effluent ponds helped.
Inspectors noted potential problems ranging from inadequate infrastructure in low-lying areas to landowners providing sharemilkers with too little information for compliance.