Intensive winter grazing

Good management practice is important when undertaking intensive winter grazing (IWG). You need to ensure there are no adverse environmental effects.

IWG regulations have changed

Regulations to better control the effects of IWG were introduced in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (NES-F) as part of the Government’s Essential Freshwater reforms.

The regulations seek to improve IWG practices by providing three pathways for farmers doing it:

Pathway 1:  Intensive winter grazing is permitted if a farmer complies with default conditions set out in the NES-F, or

Pathway 2:  Intensive winter grazing is permitted if a farmer obtains a certified freshwater farm plan that achieves an equivalent (or better) outcome. The farm plan must demonstrate that any adverse effects in relation to the IWG are no greater than those allowed for by the default conditions.

Pathway 3: If neither of Pathways 1 nor 2 can be met, a farmer needs to obtain a resource consent for intensive winter grazing activities.

The start date for the regulations is now 1 November 2022 (not 1 May 2022 as previously scheduled) and will not impact the 2022 winter grazing season.

Those planning IWG operations for the 2023 season will need to become familiar with the new intensive winter grazing regulations and requirements. Existing use rights will not be available for the 2023 season and practices will need to be adjusted to comply with the new regulations.

Useful links

What does good IWG look like?

The Ministry for the Environment has developed a module to provide guidance and practical solutions farmers can use to mitigate the effects of IWG.

2021/2022 IWG Module (external link)

There is also a Ministry for the environment factsheet available.

IWG factsheet(external link)

If you want industry-specific information and guidance visit:

Dairy NZ - Wintering cows on crops(external link) | Beef + Lamb NZ - Forage crop grazing(external link)