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Winter intensive grazing

Freshwater Plan Factsheet

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Winter intensive grazing

The Freshwater Plan has new rules if you intensively graze or break feed animals on crops or pasture between 1 May and 30 September that results in significant de-vegegation.

This is when damage is caused to vegetation creating large areas of bare ground or soil compaction.

What are the rules?

Rainfall can wash sediment, nutrients and faecal bacteria from grazed paddocks into waterways.

You need to have a buffer area between grazed paddocks and waterways to help trap run-off and keep the
water clean. If the slope of land is less than 15 degrees, stock must be excluded from:

  • 5 metres from the wet edge of all permanent and intermittent streams.
  • 5 metres from the edge of wetlands and lakes.
  • 10 metres from the edge of outstanding waterbodies or regionally significant wetlands listed in schedule 3 and 4 of the Freshwater Plan.

If the slope of the land is greater than 15 degrees, stock must be excluded from:

  • 10 metres from the wet edge of any stream or river beds, all lakes and the edge of all wetlands.

Good grazing practices

When setting up paddocks for winter

• Choose paddocks away from waterways to plant your feed crops.
• Identify swales, leave them unploughed as a grassed waterway and temporarily fence them off during
winter grazing.
• Locate and size buffer strips on a site-by-site basis. Locate larger buffers around gullies and swales
where most run-off flows from.
• Put baleage in the paddock before soil becomes too wet so vehicles don’t damage the ground.


• Keep plough lines at least 5 metres back from streams on flat land and 10-15 metres back on slopes
more than 7 degrees
• Cultivate crops along the contour lines on sloping land to slow run-off and reduce down-slope soil

Nutrient management

• Soil test your paddocks to gauge the right fertiliser requirements for crop and soil type.
• Prepare a nutrient budget to understand how nutrients are lost from your current farming system.
Once stock are in the paddock
• Graze less risky areas of the paddock first and graze towards more risky areas – which could mean
break feeding towards the waterway.
• Fence stock off land that has already been grazed.
• Provide transportable troughs for drinking water.


Download - winter intensive grazing factsheet [PDF, 3.4 MB]

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