Council to identify risk areas by air

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WITH the spotlight on Southland winter grazing practices, the regional council will this week fly over farmland to identify risk areas.

Environment Southland (ES), with support from DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, will look at cultivated forage crop paddocks from the air, to identify areas which may pose water quality risks this winter.

ES chief executive Rob Phillips said there was a continued spotlight on Southland farmers’ wintering practices, and he was keen to ensure farmers were supported to be well prepared for grazing.

“We appreciate the attention that landowners have given to improving their wintering practices over the last few years. This is good to see, but farmers need to be prepared and vigilant throughout winter.”

Last year, the Government introduced new intensive winter grazing rules, which were met with concern over the practical implementation from the rural sector.

The introduction of the regulations were deferred until May 2022.

But, rules preventing the expansion of intensive winter grazing will still apply.

The flight would focus on cultivated paddocks where water quality was at high risk when those paddocks were grazed this winter, Mr Phillips said.

Land sustainability staff will also look at paddocks to ensure critical source areas have been left uncultivated, buffer zones are in place by waterways, how feed crops are being used to keep vegetation between waterways and animals, and if the paddocks look like they could pose an increased risk of overland flow.

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