FEPs are unique to a property and reflect the local climate and soils, the type of farming operation, and the goals and aspirations of the land user.
The level of complexity of an FEP will largely depend on how much farm system change is underway or being considered.
- You can record your progress towards achieving good farming practice principles (GFP)
- Helps identify environmental risks and prioritise actions
- Helps tell the story of the actions of farmers at a local level
- To continue competing on the global scale, we need to inspire confidence in animal welfare, environmental and production systems, a FEP helps do this.
What should be in an FEP?
- Farm details (location, supply number etc, farm boundaries)
- Farm maps identifying all significant infrastructure and natural features (e.g., waterways)
- An assessment of risk from farming activities on water quality (contaminants) for each of the GFP Principles (nutrients, waterways, land & soil, effluent and water use/irrigation)
- Good management practices the farm is currently doing including an assessment of the farm’s current practice against GFP
- Identification of time-bound actions in place to mitigate impacts of farming practice on the environment
- It should be written by you the farmer or with your input. It should not be a lengthy document written solely for a Regional Council.
Will it change in the future?
- A FEP is a living document so will need to be updated as you complete actions and make changes to the farm
- Some FEPs already have additional information
- Further information maybe required if not already covered on:
- An assessment of N-surplus
- Reporting of soil Olsen P
- Greenhouse gases (GHG) and good management practices to mitigate GHGs
Agreed National Good Farming Practice principles
- Identify the physical and biophysical characteristics of the farm system, assess the risk factors to water quality associated with the farm system, and manage appropriately.
- Maintain accurate and auditable records of annual farm inputs, outputs and management practices.
- Manage farming operations to minimise direct and indirect losses of sediment and nutrients to water, and maintain or enhance soil structure, where agronomically appropriate.
- Monitor soil phosphorus levels and maintain them at or below the agronomic optimum for the farm system
- Manage the amount and timing of fertiliser inputs, taking account of all sources of nutrients, to match plant requirements and minimise risk of losses.
- Store and load fertiliser to minimise risk of spillage, leaching and loss into water bodies
- Ensure equipment for spreading fertilisers is well maintained and calibrated.
- Store, transport and distribute feed to minimise wastage, leachate and soil damage.
- Identify risk of overland flow of sediment and faecal bacteria on the property and implement measures to minimise transport of these to water bodies.
- Locate and manage farm tracks, gateways, water troughs, self-feeding areas, stock camps, wallows and other sources of run-off to minimise risks to water quality.
- Exclude stock from water bodies to the extent that is compatible with land form, stock class and stock intensity. Where exclusion is not possible, mitigate impacts on waterways.
Land and soil
- Manage periods of exposed soil between crops/ pasture to reduce risk of erosion, overland flow and leaching.
- Manage or retire erosion prone land to minimise soil losses through appropriate measures and practices. (Implementing this principle may mean that Class 8 land is not actively farmed for arable, pastoral or commercial forestry land uses as this land is generally unsuitable for these uses as described in the Land Use Capability Handbook.)
- Select appropriate paddocks for intensive grazing, recognising and mitigating possible nutrient and sediment loss from critical source areas.
- Manage grazing to minimise losses from critical source areas.
- Ensure the effluent system meets industry specific Code of Practice or equivalent standard.
- Have sufficient, suitable storage available for farm effluent and wastewater.
- Ensure equipment for spreading effluent and other organic manures is well maintained and calibrated.
- Apply effluent to pasture and crops at depths, rates and times to match plant requirements and minimise risk to water bodies.
Water and irrigation
- Manage the amount and timing of irrigation inputs to meet plant demands and minimise risk of leaching and runoff.
- Design, check and operate irrigation systems to minimise the amount of water needed to meet production objectives.