Sunday, December 3, 2023

ORC launches new series of Otago farm flyovers

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The council is checking for intensive winter grazing and any large disturbance of land near waterways.
Council checking for IWG and any large disturbance of land near waterways
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The Otago Regional Council is about to begin a series of farm flyovers as part of its monitoring of intensive winter grazing in Otago.

The flyovers will also be used to identify  any large land disturbance, such as forestry or earthworks, around waterways.

Three flyovers, each involving three flights, are planned.

ORC principal compliance specialist Mike Cummings said each flyover is about gathering information, followed by talks with people before taking any further action.

“These are part of our proactive approach to compliance,” he said. 

“We’re looking out for things like forestry, any machinery which is working in or around our streams, rivers and wetlands and of course intensive winter grazing [IWG] practices.”

 Cummings said last year’s flyovers found there had been “a massive positive change” in IWG practices compared to previous years, now that farmers are coming to understand how the rules, which came out in 2020, apply to their practices.

“It was great to see the on-farm changes last year and we are hoping to see the same level of practice this year, if not better given the level of engagement from the community.”

 Cummings said while the ORC has an education-first philosophy, appropriate steps will be taken if reports of breaches of the rules are significant.  

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