Saturday, April 13, 2024

ORC pleased with compliance results

Neal Wallace
A second southern regional council has praised farmers for their intensive livestock management this winter, with only two cases of low-risk non-compliance being investigated. The Otago Regional Council conducted three aerial inspections over winter and of the 140 properties identified as requiring ground visits, 26 related to potentially breaching current rules and the balance potentially breaching future rules.
Two more aerial surveillances for winter grazing compliance is scheduled for this year, but findings have been mostly positive so far. File photo
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A second southern regional council has praised farmers for their intensive livestock management this winter, with only two cases of low-risk non-compliance being investigated.

The Otago Regional Council conducted three aerial inspections over winter and of the 140 properties identified as requiring ground visits, 26 related to potentially breaching current rules and the balance potentially breaching future rules.

A further eight site visits are pending from the August flight after being interrupted by the covid pandemic.

Last year two flights identified nine properties requiring inspection, with the council then describing compliance as encouraging but with room for improvement.

At the time, the council said this was an improvement on 2019.

Environment Southland has also acknowledged farmers have progressively improved their winter grazing management each year.

Council compliance manager Tami Sargeant says this year’s flights showed farmers are aware and responding to existing and incoming winter grazing rules.

“Over the flights we saw relatively few risks from the sky that needed to be followed up on the ground and we had a lot of great engagement with landowners and industry groups throughout winter,” Sargeant said.

“Otago farmers generally followed good management practices and mitigated environmental risks well.”

The majority of cases being followed up by ground inspections were fully compliant with current rules, but she says they may have breached incoming rules around critical source areas.

Sargeant says changes may be needed for next winter to comply with incoming rules, such as the amount of paddock being grazed, grazing near critical source areas and margins when excluding stock from waterways.

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