In 2021, and in response to feedback about implementation issues, the Government deferred the commencement date of regulations and publicly consulted on changes to make them more practical to comply with the regulations – while still managing the effects of intensive winter grazing.
Having considered feedback, the Government amended intensive winter grazing regulations in the NES-F to address the implementation issues raised by other parties.
Slope is now defined as the maximum slope (i.e. the elevation difference across any 20 metre distance) for any area being used for intensive winter grazing. This replaces the definition of slope as ‘mean slope across a paddock’.
Land with a maximum slope of less than 10 degrees (as defined above) may be used for intensive winter grazing activities, subject to satisfying other conditions. Intensive winter grazing on land with a slope of more than 10 degrees will need either a resource consent or certified freshwater farm plan.
Default conditions around pugging have been replaced with a stand-alone duty to take all reasonably practicable steps to minimise the effects of pugging on freshwater.
The definition of drains has been amended to exclude subsurface drains in relation to intensive winter grazing. This means requirement to keep stock at least 5m away from waterways does not apply to subsurface drains.
Default conditions around resowing have been replaced with a stand-alone duty to establish vegetation as ground cover as soon as practicable after grazing.
Critical source areas
A new default condition has been added around critical source areas. Anyone undertaking intensive winter grazing activities must protect critical source areas – these must be left ungrazed, have vegetation as ground cover, and they must not be cultivated in annual forage crop.