In April, an intensive winter grazing (IWG) module was developed. by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Ministry for the Environment (MfE). The module was developed to help kick start IWG planning and provide a set of IWG practice expectations.
The recommendation is for all famers undertaking IWG this year to have a plan. IWG modules are the core way to undertake IWG planning, and can be accessed from MPI, DairyNZ, or Beef+Lamb NZ. Either of the below plans can be used, as long as they reflect the content of the MPI and MfE module.
MPI and MfE Winter Grazing Module - This module has been developed to help achieve immediate improvements in intensive winter grazing practices and support improved planning in 2021.
Beef and Lamb Winter Grazing Templates - A range of resources that have been tested by farmers. From an editable forage cropping template, to downloadable winter grazing paddock plan template.
DairyNZ Winter Grazing Plan. - This plan is an update for DairyNZ which now reflects MPI's wintering module.
Federated Farmers, Deer Industry New Zealand, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and the Foundation for Arable Research, have put together a winter grazing checklist to help achieve good management practices. The checklist will help farmers grazing forage crops this winter assess whether they are prepared and highlight any potential gaps that need addressing.
The checklist will be supported by other new initiatives from the primary sector, such as webinars and workshops and regular information from industry bodies, which are collaborating on advice to farmers to ensure it is coordinated and consistent.
The advice is in line with the new module released by MPI and MfE recently.
The checklist was posted to thousands of rural properties in May. You can access the checklist HERE.
Horizons Regional Council has developed a paddock risk assessment app for IWG, which categorizes the risk of sediment, phosphorus and E.coli runoff from IWG areas. The app categorizes the risk as low, medium or high, depending on paddock features such as slope, drainage, stock class and proximity to waterways and critical source areas. They have also developed an IWG management plan that integrates with the app to address the identified risks through good management practices or further mitigations.
The first step for farmers in the planning process is to decide which paddocks to graze for winter. Paddock selection is not always based on risk, but on the farming systems such as the need for re-grassing, pasture renewal, weed issues, fertility or the ease of management. The tool allows farmers and rural professionals a consistent way to assess risks, and enables identification and selections of low risk paddocks to help drive good management practice when used in conjunction with the management plan.
The app: http://iwgrisk.horizons.govt.nz and the management plan can be found here: http://www.horizons.govt.nz/HRC/media/Media/Consent/052021-IWG-Management-Plan.pdf?ext=.pdf
Environment Southland is developing an end-to-end online approach for planning and managing IWG. This approach includes a cultivation and IWG mapping tool; a PA checklist, and a registration process, along with an online resource consent application process.
After some internal testing and changes, Environment Southland is now testing these tools with a small group of users to ensure clarity, suitability and ease of use before wider roll out to the community.
The mapping tool allows farmers to draw polygons on their farm and identify risks and other management considerations when selecting paddocks for IWG. The PA checklist and resource consent application process considers both the requirements in the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan and the NES.
Keep an eye out here for more updates for the new tool!
Above Figure: A screenshot of Environment Southland's new IWG App.
Two smartphone apps have been developed by Pamu’s geospatial and soil specialists to help their staff manage winter grazing. Pamu has 4% of its land under winter forage crops in Southland and almost 1700 ha of winter crops across the country.
One app has been designed to help farm managers determine which paddocks are best to select for spring cropping, and the second winter-grazing app to help better manage the IWG process.
Using the mapping technology, farm managers can walk around a paddock and see in real time specific conditions on the farm that influence paddock selection, including drainage features, soil types and contour. They are designed to help avoid making the wrong decision early in the process, and avoid sowing a paddock that makes wintering harder, messier and riskier than needed.
The second winter grazing app involves a decision tree process for farm managers to use, pushing the users to look deeper into further steps and mitigations when winter grazing. It combines visual maps, data and analysis from geographic information systems and survey technology.
Above Figure: Screenshot of Pamu’s winter grazing app for paddock selection
Waikato Regional Council
Horizons Regional Council
West Coast Regional Council
Environment Canterbury Regional Council
Otago Regional Council
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