The Southland Water and Land Plan is currently under appeal in the Environment Court. This is the next stage in the process following the hearings which occurred in 2017. Environment Court mediation and hearings will happen in mid-2019. DairyNZ is a party to these appeals and is working closely with Fonterra and other industry groups. For more information about the proposed WaLP see the Environment Southland website.
The next step is for Environment Southland to set limits for water quantity and quality. A Regional Forum consisting of members from rural and urban communities will help to shape how Southland’s water resources are managed now and in the future. The Regional Forum will act as an Advisory Body for Environment Southland, by evaluating the social, economic, cultural and environmental implications of limit setting options.
DairyNZ and other industry bodies will have a technical advisory role to the Regional Forum and will also ensure that farmers are aware of opportunities to hear what the forum is doing and how to get involved. Find out more about the Regional Forum here.
What do I need to do? What should I be thinking about next?
The rules in the WaLP only affect new/changed farming activities at this stage. Please contact Environment Southland if you are unsure if your activity will be affected.
Existing (unchanged) farming activities won’t be affected until at least six months after the appeal is resolved.
The Proposed WaLP combined with coming regulation from government indicate there will be a requirement for dairy famers to improve their winter grazing management and cultivation by implementing Good Management Practices (GMPs) under a Farm Environmental Management Plan (FEMP).
Farmers need to:
- Start getting clued up & implementing GMPs for their farm. FEPs will be required under the WaLP at some stage in the near future. Starting to think about GMPs now will help farmers to work through the FEP process later. For more information about FEPs, click here.
- The proposed rules under the WaLP and signals from Central Government mean that wintering practices must meet more stringent environmental outcomes.
Farm Environmental Management Plan
A Farm Environmental Management Plan will need to be prepared as part of any consent application, and under many of the requirements in the Proposed Southland Water and Land Plan. More information on what the WaLP currently requires under an FEP can be found under Appendix N of the proposed plan. Note these WaLP FEP requirements currently only apply to new or changed activities. Existing, unchanged activities are not required to prepare an FEP until six months after the WaLP has become operative (all appeals have been resolved). There will be more information around this mid-2019.
Intensive winter Grazing
Under the proposed rules:
- A Farm Environmental Management Plan will be required from 1 May 2019 by all dairy platforms and any landholding that undertake intensive winter grazing. This currently only applies to new or changed activities.
- Intensive winter grazing will be restricted to 15% of the land area, or 100 hectares and may only graze 120 cattle.
- Areas must be grazed from top to bottom of the slope and a back-fence must be used.
- Transportable water troughs must be provided.
- Supplementary feed must be placed in portable feeders.
- Critical source areas that accumulate runoff should be grazed last.
- Vegetative strip of at least 5 metres must be maintained from any waterbody, particularly where any winter grazing may occur. Stock must be excluded from this strip.
Under the proposed rules, any farm that does not meet these rules is a restricted discretionary activity, therefore will require a consent. DairyNZ and other industry bodies are working hard to help other parties understand the implications these rulings will have on dairy farmers.
- Sloping land greater than 20 degrees should not be cultivated
- Vegetative strip should be maintained of 5 meters from waterbodies
For a summary of rules and suggested actions to comply, please follow the link.
Good Management Practices
There are a lot of reasons to act now. Positive environmental changes can add significant value to New Zealand dairy farmers. As we move into a period of farming within limits (all catchments throughout the country require limits to be set by 2025), farmers which can succeed in the environmental space will increase the property value as well as gain the resource consent enabling them to continue to farm in the future. Further, farmers can make valuable on-farm management changes by implementing Good Management Practices, increasing efficiency and reducing costs of production.
Good Management Practices Examples
- When safe to do so, cultivate across slopes rather than up and down, which can speed up overland flow.
- Apply fertiliser (N-P-K-S) at rates, times and distances from waterbodies to match plant requirements and minimise risk of losses.
- Select appropriate paddocks for intensive grazing, recognising and mitigating possible nutrient and sediment loss.
- Have systems in place so all staff are trained in good environmental practice.
For more information about Good Management Practices please follow the link
Current Southland Environmental and Community Groups
|Waiau River Care Group||Paul Marshall||027 306 7737|
|Pourakino Catchment Group||Ewen Mathieson||027 293 0479|
|Te Anau||Rob Kempthorne||03 249 8504|
|Lower Aparima Catchment Group||John White||027 202 3945|
|Orepuki Catchment Group||Chris Paterson||027 240 3363|
|Mid Aparima Catchment Group||Edwin Mabonga||027 469 1090|
|Upper Aparima Catchment Group||Frank van Miltenburg||027 221 9621|
|Waimatuku Catchment Group||Graeme Appleby||0274335737|
|Hedgehope /Dunsdale Catchment Group||Suzanne Hanning||027 230 4511|
|Mid Oreti Catchment Group||Tim Driscoll||022 076 9093|
|Wendonside Catchment Group||Rob Dingle||027 2331212|
|Balfour Catchment Group||John van Liet / Blair Drysdale||027 698 7633 / 03 201 6202|
|Waikawa Catchment Group||Allan Marshallfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lower Mataura Catchment Group||Mark Hamill||027 2395020|
|Three Rivers Catchment Group||Robin Greer||027 433 2058|
|Between the Domes Catchment Group||Laurie Selbie||027 478 3317|
|Waimatuku Catchment Group||Fiona Young||03 211 5115|
|Waikaka Stream Catchment Group||Craig Macintyre||Contact DairyNZ for details|
|Gore-Waimumu Catchment Group||Chris Giles||027 683 7235|
If you have any questions, please contact:
Tessa Schmidt on 0277028349 or Charlotte Wright on 021 986 783.