A SECOND Environment Southland (ES) aerial compliance inspection has shown signs of improved winter grazing practice.
The inspection was undertaken last week and ES chief executive Rob Phillips said early indications were that, although significant water and mud was around, farmers had taken the advice from ES and other industry groups to implement good management practices.
“We know the weather can provide some challenges for farmers carrying out winter grazing, but we also know that there are many things that can be done to mitigate the effects of winter grazing on the environment.
He said observations from the flight showed most farmers were using back fencing and buffer zones and were mindful of critical source areas.
Several complaints had been received from members of the public concerned about stock in muddy paddocks and the ES compliance team was following them up.
“We understand that seeing stock in muddy paddocks can cause concern for people, but some mud can be part of winter life in the south. That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for animals to be in unsatisfactory conditions or for the grazing practices to have negative impacts on the surrounding environment and waterways.”
He said enforcement action would be taken where appropriate, but in many cases it might mean referral to the land and water services team or another industry group for further advice and support to improve their practice.
“Where animal welfare concerns are identified, these will be passed on to MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries).”