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Winter intensive grazing

Freshwater plan fact sheet

Gisborne District Council's Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP) includes rules for intensively farming stock or breakfeeding animals on feed crops or pasture between 1 May and 30 September.

What are the rules?

If you are already intensively farming, you can continue to farm without a resource consent but you need to submit a farm environment plan to us before 1 May 2021.

“Intensively farmed stock” – cattle or deer grazed on irrigated land or contained for breakfeeding of feed crops; 2. Dairy farming; 3. Farming of more than 9 pigs per hectare of land; and 4. Sheep farmed for milk production that are contained for breakfeeding of feed crops.

“Breakfeeding” - a system of controlling the feeding of grazing animals by subdividing paddocks with movable fences and concentrating grazing.

“Feed crops” - a crop that is not annual or perennial grass/ legume/ herb pasture, which is grown as part of an animal farming operation: for the purpose of feeding animals on the same farm or farm enterprise: or to be taken off-farm.

Note: species making up pasture are described in the Farm Technical Manual - Trafford, G. and Trafford, S.(Eds.): Lincoln University, 2011

“Dairy Farming” - using any area of land greater than 1 ha for the farming of dairy cattle, and goats for milk production.

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. 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 see the TRMP - Part G Schedules (G17 and G18).

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.

From 1 July 2019 all streams and rivers that are crossed by as part of the intensively farmed stock activity shall be bridged or culverted, expect for when crossings are supervised, stock are driven in one continuous movement or they occur less than once a week.

Good grazing practices

  • 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 loss.

  • 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.

  • 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.

For more information about winter intensive grazing, visit Ministry for the Environment website.