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Updates to intensive winter grazing requirements

In September 2020, the government introduced the Resource Management (National Environment Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 in an attempt to regulate certain activities which pose a potential risk to freshwater and the environment.

One activity covered by these Regulations is intensive winter grazing (the grazing of livestock on an annual forage crop at any time from 1 May to 30 September of the same year). On 1 November 2022, new regulations came into force in respect of intensive winter grazing (the Updated Regulations); these will impact farmers across New Zealand.

The first change is the requirement to have an intensive winter grazing management plan in place. The purpose of the plan is to identify the potential risks of intensive winter grazing, how you will mitigate those risks on your farm and to identify whether your current intensive winter grazing practices will still be considered a permitted activity (an activity that does not require a resource consent) under the Updated Regulations. 

The Updated Regulations have changed which activities are considered a permitted activity.

More restrictions include, for example, the total area on which you can implement intensive winter grazing, the slope of land and stock distance from waterways. If you are unable to comply with the Updated Regulations, you must apply for a resource consent by 1 May 2023. 

It is important to understand your legal responsibilities about intensive winter grazing. If you are unsure about your obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or your local council.