Thursday, April 25, 2024

Mitigate the effects of winter grazing

Neal Wallace
Southland farmers appear to have got the message about the need to lift their game with winter grazing compliance.
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A second aerial inspection by Environment Southland this winter has shown further improvement in practice, even coming after a period of heavy rain.

The first inspection last month also found a high level of compliance.

Council chief executive Rob Phillips says despite significant water and mud, farmers have taken advice and implemented back fencing, buffer zones and were mindful of critical source areas.

“We know the weather can provide some challenges for farmers carrying out winter grazing, but we also know that there are many things that can be done to mitigate the effects of winter grazing on the environment,” he said. 

The council has received several complaints in the last week from members of the public concerned about stock in muddy paddocks which the compliance team is following up.

“We understand that seeing stock in muddy paddocks can cause concern for people, but some mud can be part of winter life in the south.

“That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for animals to be in unsatisfactory conditions or for the grazing practices to have negative impacts on the surrounding environment and waterways,” he added

“We will follow up complaints received and take the necessary action.

“This may mean enforcement action where that is appropriate, but in many cases, it may mean a referral to our land and water services team or another industry group for further advice and support to improve their practice.

“Where animal welfare concerns are identified, these will be passed on to the Ministry for Primary Industries.”

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