DairyNZ has been engaging with Government and councils on farmers’ behalf to ensure new regulations are pragmatic. Some changes have already been made since the initial announcement which have been summarised below.
In your region
DairyNZ has summarised the information and tailored it by region to help you better understand what these requirements mean for you.
Note: In March 2021, the government announced there would be changes to wintering requirements – these changes are now reflected in the advice.
- Hawke's Bay
- Greater Wellington
- West Coast
The new regulations include new standards in addition to those currently required by your regional council. Where council rules are more stringent, we expect that council rules will apply.
If as a result of the rules coming into force, the activity you were carrying out now requires a resource consent, you may continue carrying out that activity provided:
- no consent was required for the activity and it was lawfully established prior to the commencement of the rule, and
- the effects of the activities are of the same or of similar character, scale, and intensity as they were before commencement, and
- you apply for a resource consent for the activity within six months after the rule comes into force and by the following dates:
- 31 December 2021: for applications of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and stockholding areas that don’t meet permitted activity standards.
Always check with your regional council to see if the existing user rights applies to your activities.
What does this mean, and what do I do now?
Intensive winter grazing
- The wintering requirements in the national regulations have been deferred for a year (until May 2022).
- Limits on the expansion of winter grazing will still apply from May 2021. This means from 1 May 2021 any increase in intensive winter cropping area will require a resource consent (this applies if the proposed wintering area is larger than highest annual area used from 1 July 2014-30 June 2019). A new intensive winter grazing activity would also need a resource consent.
- An intensive winter grazing module will be developed by May 2022 as an alternative pathway to needing a resource consent if the permitted activity conditions cannot be met. This will be available from 2022.
Improvements in winter grazing practices are expected and councils will monitor this. Follow good management practice and implement a winter grazing plan (break-fed-wintering guide) to support your winter grazing.
Industry representatives and Ministry for Environment are working on how to implement the 190 synthetic nitrogen cap. Even if there are any recommendations, it is important you have a plan in place to begin reducing synthetic fertiliser use.
- Understand the new regulations - There will be a requirement by 1 June 2021 to apply for a resource consent if above 190 kg N/ha. See the Nitrogen Cap decision tree for consent pathways.
- Know how much synthetic N fertiliser was applied last season over each hectare/ paddock, and the average over the effective pastoral area.
- Have good systems in place for recording the tonnage per hectare, of all synthetic N fertiliser applied on farm
- Review your current N use strategy to identify potential areas to improve N use efficiency
- Create a plan to meet 190 kg N/ha cap – use the Selwyn-Hinds resources for support Strategies to reduce N fertiliser use - DairyNZ.
Farm environment plans
- Engage with and understand your farm from an environmental perspective. There are many avenues to get a Farm Environment Plan including approaching your milk supply company.
- Greenhouse gas modules should retrospectively incorporate into an existing FEP, it’s likely this module will come out in early 2022. This plan will work together with your existing FEP. This is being addressed through the Dairy Tomorrow Working Group.
Regional councils are charged with implementing and monitoring the rules.
Once we know how and when rules will be implemented DairyNZ will continue to provide you with tailored information to help you make decisions. For more information, contact your regional council or DairyNZ’s information service on 0800 4 324 7969.
We will also continue to engage with Government and councils on farmers’ behalf to ensure that new regulations are pragmatic, and farmers and their businesses have adequate time to adjust.
DairyNZ's position on DIN and nitrate toxicity
In its consultation package, Government proposed the addition of a dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) attribute. They have parked this for now based on strong feedback from DairyNZ and others that the measure was not scientifically robust and would not drive the ecosystem health outcomes it sought to deliver.
DairyNZ will continue to advocate strongly on these and other issues, on farmers’ behalf with a particular focus on ensuring the timeframes for meeting targets and limits are based on scientific understanding and give adequate time for pasture, animal and people management changes. Farmer involvement in these processes will also be critical.
Farmers making progress
Healthy waterways are important to dairy farmers. We share the same aspirations to protect our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Throughout the policy development process, DairyNZ has continued to highlight to the Government the good work farmers are already doing and the progress already made.
As well as providing clarity on new rules, and having your back in policy development, DairyNZ will continue to share your good stories including through the Vision is Clear campaign.