Farmers praised for winter grazing management

Rob Phillips
Rob Phillips
Farmers should be commended for their efforts to improve winter grazing practices, following aerial winter grazing inspections, Environment Southland says. 

Chief executive Rob Phillips said the results showed ‘‘widespread examples of good practice’’ following concerns expressed last year.

"I’m impressed that farmers have taken up the advice given to mitigate the effects of winter grazing on the environment, despite the many challenges this year has presented.

"We know implementing good management practices, such as back fencing, buffer zones and being mindful of critical source areas, can make a big difference and we are seeing the results of that this year."

However, Mr Phillips said it was important farmers did not become complacent.

Although this winter had been relatively mild, there was still some time to go and no-one could predict what next year might bring.

Farmers should now turn their focus to preparing for the next season and continue to build on the good work they had done.

"Intensive winter grazing continues to be under the spotlight,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a high-risk activity in relation to water quality and needs to be managed very carefully."

Three compliance aerial inspection flights have been undertaken this year and only a small number of properties have required follow-up, mostly relating to education around critical source areas and back fencing. It was also noted that winter crop grazing was significantly reduced and alternatives were being used, such as wintering barns.

Farmers are now being encouraged to ensure good planning for their winter grazing for next year.

"Planning now is the key to next year’s success.

‘‘Choosing the right paddocks and taking into account things like critical source areas will set farmers up for a good year."

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