Otago Water Plan change 6A became operative 1 May 2014, which aims to manage the effects of rural land uses on water quality by focusing on controlling contaminants entering waterways.
What applies NOW:
- Prohibited activity rules (e.g. effluent discharge rules and sediment)
- Sediment control
- Bed disturbance rules
- Stock access rules
It is important that dairy farmers and dairy graziers are aware of the discharge rules relating to sediment.
Tips for managing environmental risks of wintering on crop
- Identify high risk areas for grazing management and environmental risk i.e. high risk soils, swales and low lying areas that run to waterways, waterways adjacent to grazing paddocks. (Graze these low lying areas and areas adjacent to waterways last to utilise the crop cover as a filter to reduce P and sediment loss).
- Always leave an ungrazed and uncultivated vegetative strip along any waterway. The steeper the land, the wider this strip should be. This can reduce sediment, phosphorous, and faecal losses to waterways.
- On rolling land, graze from the top of the slope to the bottom, allowing the ungrazed crop to filter sediment.
- When disturbing land, you must put in place some measures to control sediment runoff into waterways. Having no effective sediment control measures is a prohibited activity.
- Ensure supplements are fed in a manner to reduce wastage. If bale feeders or portable water troughs are used, ensure they are shifted frequently to avoid major soil damage and to minimise potential critical source areas.
- Back-fence stock off land that has already been grazed to minimise further soil damage.
- Keep lines of communication open with graziers and landowners to ensure data transfer is maintained for farm management decisions and regulatory reporting requirements i.e. supplements imported, stock numbers.
- Do not allow stock access to waterways as it may cause slumping, pugging or erosion of the stream bed or bank, which also may cause a visual change in colour or clarity of the water.
Keep it low this winter
As winter approaches and soil moisture deficit levels decrease, finding suitable days to irrigate effluent becomes more difficult. We recommend that you use these next two months to actively manage your effluent pond level before it becomes too wet to irrigate. Using every opportunity to irrigate and lower your pond will allow for more storage capacity through the winter and spring.
For further information see