Livestock farming groups are encouraged by recent government changes to the stock exclusion regulations.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers and Deer Industry New Zealand have welcomed recent government changes to the low-slope map for the Upper Taieri Scroll Plain and grazing concessions on Crown Pastoral Lease land, along with clarification on existing fencing and stock exclusion.
Especially welcomed was the inclusion of livestock grazing to manage the Upper Taieri Scroll Plain in Otago’s Maniototo district, a meandering system of oxbows and wetlands.
The livestock groups say the decision allows regional planning and management of this site, potentially setting a precedent for further consideration of this approach.
The management plan for the area allows for careful bespoke use of on-farm tools such as grazing.
The three groups say in a statement that the government’s changes were to specific circumstances and do not relate to the three options for low-intensity systems that they were discussing in July.
This follows a joint submission made on the government’s proposed changes which included results from a survey of more than 340 farmers.
“The government has indicated it is still looking at how more flexibility can be incorporated into the regulations in the future while still achieving positive environmental outcomes, although no detail has been provided about what this may look like,” the statement says.
B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the changes were a good start to make the stock exclusion regulations fit for purpose, but further changes were needed.
Federated Farmers freshwater spokesperson Colin Hurst says low impact farming is still taking a hit, with many extensive farmers unable to financially or physically able to fence all the rivers and streams on their farms.
“Forcing them to do so would put them out of business for little environmental benefit.”
He says the government has made a complete mess of these regulations, with two major changes in the three years since they were passed.
“If the government is going to progress with these regulations an extension to the timeframes will also be needed.”
Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Innes Moffat says the government needs to work with the sector.
“While we appreciate any improvements to the current solution, the government needs to go further to ensuring the stock exclusion regulations are outcomes-driven, practical, fair and workable for farmers.”