Winter Grazing - Early intervention registration and best practice tools

Registering concern to the early intervention team

Winter crops are gradually being opened up to stock around the region and although the weather has been kind so far, we all know that winter will arrive before long. Nobody wants to see the negative attention that winter grazing attracted last year, so lots of work has been done by industry, farmers and Environment Southland to be proactive and minimise adverse effects. 
We’re all very aware that a photo doesn’t tell the whole story, and that a photo can cast almost any paddock in a bad light if that is the intention of the person with the camera/cellphone. However, it is important that the industry continues to make every effort to avoid negative public perception, and to minimise negative impacts on the environment and animal welfare.
An early intervention process has been established by industry to help achieve those aims. This process enables anybody to register a concern that they have about winter grazing at a specific location, for follow-up up by industry. It is hoped that this will provide an avenue for those with concerns to have them addressed in a constructive way, rather than feeling that they need to take their concerns to media.
Concerns can be raised by filling in a simple form here, or by calling 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646). Caller details will be taken so that information provided can be clarified if required, but will not be made known outside the intervention group. 
Each case / concern that is raised through this process will be discussed by a small intervention group of local representatives from Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ and Beef & Lamb NZ. The local intervention group will identify the most appropriate industry representative to contact the farmer responsible, talk through the concerns raised and, where necessary, identify appropriate strategies to mitigate the issues. If the farmer responsible is not willing to accept industry support or address any issues identified, the concern will be passed on to the local regional council (for environmental concerns) or MPI (for animal welfare concerns) to follow up as per their normal processes. However, it is hoped that by having an industry supporting industry approach, and aiming to proactively address challenges, there will be very few (if any) cases like that. 
Most farmers really want to do the right thing, and often education or fresh ideas are all that is required. A supportive approach will be essential this year, with many farmers in the region already under significant pressure from poor growth conditions, flood impact and imposed overstocking due to the processing constraints of COVID19. The Southland / Otago group is already meeting regularly, and groups will be stood up in other regions as required. 

Winter Grazing - Best Practice Tools

Levy bodies beef + lamb and DairyNZ have some great tools for best practice winter grazing. If you do need additional help to get it right, do not hesitate to reach out to them for advice and support

DairyNZ's online resources can be found here

Beef + Lamb's online resource ten top tips can be found here