I already have a consent or a consent application
I already have Horizons One Plan Land Use consent, do I need to do anything?
Firstly, check the consent you are referring to is a land use consent. You will know it is if there is a nitrogen leaching maximum stipulated (often written as kg/N/ha), and a consent condition requiring the annual reporting of your farm N-loss.
If you have this consent then you do not need to do anything, provided your farm has not changed since granting of this consent.
The land use consent will have been granted based on your land area at the time you applied for consent. If your land area has changed we suggest you contact either Horizons or the nutrient management consultant you used to prepare the consent application to discuss if a change to your consent is needed.
I already have a consent application prepared before the 2017 Horizons court declaration. Am I able to apply for consent with this?
There have been changes to the consenting pathway and documentation since 2017, and you will now have the choice to select from a wider range of options to reduce your N losses. It’s worthwhile discussing these with your advisor to ensure you choose the best option for your farm.
Many of the documents you have previously prepared will still be relevant, however it is likely some amendments will be required before these can be submitted to Horizons. Your farm target N-loss number may also be different under the council’s decision. To progress your consent application, you will need to engage a qualified nutrient management consultant.
I am consented as an existing dairy farm, can I surrender my consent and apply again under Plan Change 2?
Plan Change 2 is only applicable to farms which are unconsented.
The plan change specifies that any farm which is already consented can’t reapply under the new rules.
Plan Change 2 is an interim plan change and policy processes to meet the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management need to be underway by 2024.
I don’t have a consent
I don’t have a consent, do I need one?
Only if your farm is located (or has 20% or more of your farm area) within a Horizons target catchment. Horizons One Plan chapter 14 lists the target catchments as:
Water Management Zone
West Coast Lakes/ Lake Horowhenua/ other coastal lakes
Hoki_1a Hoki_1b West_4 West_5 West_6 West_8 West_9a West_9b
Upper Manawatu and Weber-Tamaki (upstream of Tamaki confluence
Mana_1a Mana_1b Mana_1c Mana_2a Mana_2b
Other Upper Manawatu (Upper Tamaki, Tamaki-Hopelands, Upper Kumeti, Hopelands-Tiraumea, Upper Gorge
Mana_3 Mana_4 Mana_5a Mana_5b Mana_5c Mana_5d Mana_5e Mana_6 Mana_9a
You can check if you farm is located in these catchments online, (select the ‘One Plan’ tab. This link will take you to a map which shows the catchment boundaries.
How do I start the consent application process?
If you don’t have a current land use consent and need one under Horizons One Plan then you need to start the process of applying for a consent.
We recommend engaging a qualified nutrient management consultant. They will be able to guide you through preparing a consent application.
How soon should I apply for consent?
Consent applications must be lodged with the council by 31 December 2022.
We recommend applying for consent as soon as possible, as:
- It is unlikely policy requirements for famers would be relaxed if the Plan Change is appealed
- Plan Change 2 has a fixed date for farms to meet N-loss targets. The later your consent is lodged, the less time you will have to make changes to achieve required reductions
- If your application is made later, the version of Overseer used may be updated. This could change the N-loss targets you must meet
- The application process is detailed and requires a lot of preparation time.
Can I use the nitrogen reporting done for my supply company?
The information you provide annually to your supply company is likely to include a lot of the detail required for the consent application. We recommend you have this information available when you meet with your nutrient management consultant to progress your application.
Who can prepare the necessary documents?
The consent application document can be prepared by anyone who can fully answer the questions in the application form.
However, the nutrient management plan which is part of the application must be completed by a nutrient management consultant who has a certificate of completion in Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management from Massey University (a qualified nutrient management consultant).
A list of nutrient management consultants (sourced from Horizons) is available here.
What is my farm nitrogen loss limit and LUC?
The decision provides two consent pathways for dairy farmers located in Horizons target catchments who were previously shut out from gaining consent.
The alternative consent pathway (the “Dairy NZ/Federated Farmers NZ pathway”)
Under this pathway, every farm must reduce their nutrient losses by 20% (from their 2012/13 nutrient baseline), and some farms will require further reductions beyond 20%.
All farms using this pathway must reduce their nitrogen losses by 20% by 31 December 2022 from their 2012/13 nutrient baseline.
When a 20% reduction from 2012/13 nutrient baseline does not lower the farm N-loss to the catchment maximum (below) the farm must commit to further reducing to achieve the following catchment maximums:
- For Mangatainoka 49 kg N/ha, for the rest of Tararua 45 kg N/ha
- Coastal Rangitikei 32 kg N/ha
- Other west coast catchments 35 kg N/ha
The timeframe for this further reduction beyond 20% does not have to be competed by 31 December 2022, but must be completed within a timeframe accepted by Horizons in your consent application.
The other pathway option (Horizons original pathway)
Under this option, farms need to achieve nitrogen losses specified in table 14.2 (below).
The amount of reduction needed depends on your Land Use Capability (LUC) class. This pathway has progressive nitrogen loss targets which must be met.
For this pathway it is important to note that One Plan became operative in 2014-2016, depending on your catchment. Therefore for all catchments, farmers must currently meet their year 5 targets.
Land Use Capability
Land Use Capability (LUC) is an estimate of the land’s capacity to sustain productive agricultural use based on a range of characteristics including soil type, drainage, aspect and slope. The analysis results in land being ranked on a scale from I-VIIl, where Class I is elite land suitable for intensive arable uses, and Class VIII is non-productive land unsuitable for agriculture.
Your farm area needs to be mapped for LUC to determine your farm LUC rating. Talk to your nutrient management consultant if you do not already have an LUC map for your farm.
You can challenge the LUC classification of your farm’s soils by getting a qualified soil scientist to assess your farm. You will need to contact Horizons and ask them for the names of suitably qualified people if you wish to pursue reclassification.
How long will my consent last for under Plan Change 2?
The Plan Change recommended that consents be issued for no more than 10 years.
I have a baseline report for my farm using 2012/2013 data, is this still relevant?
The baseline report is a valuable document to support consent applications. If you choose to use the alternative consent pathway, the 2012/13 data is relevant. The baseline report includes Overseer analysis based on your farm system (2012/13), and a report containing farm maps, effluent system description, waterway information and more. Your nutrient management consultant can source your baseline report directly from DairyNZ if you don’t have a copy.
What are some options to reduce N losses on my farm?
Many farms have already started reducing their nitrogen losses on farm. Working with a qualified nutrient management consultant will allow you to work through options best suited to your farm.
I am considering converting land to dairy, does the Plan Change affect me?
Plan Change 2 is only applicable for existing dairy farms (established before 1 July 2010).
If you are considering converting more than 4 hectares to dairy, a land use consent will be needed.
To be granted land use consent for a conversion the “old LUC table” nitrogen allocations apply. If you are considering converting land to dairy, we recommend you speak to Horizons Regional Council or a nutrient management consultant.