What is intensive winter grazing?
Intensive winter grazing is a farming practice where livestock are grazed on paddocks planted with forage crops.
When done poorly, it can have serious negative effects on animal welfare and the environment.
Grazing regulations updated
Intensive winter grazing regulations were introduced in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (NES-F) as part of the Essential Freshwater reforms.
They were amended in April 2022 to make them more practical for farmers and effective in lifting environmental outcomes.
The updated regulations will come into effect from 1 November 2022, giving farmers time to plan for the 2023 winter grazing period.
What are the changes?
The amendments will help protect the soil and waterways by placing greater importance on paddock selection.
The key changes are around:
- resowing annual forage crop paddocks
- protecting and not cultivating or grazing critical source areas
- using land with a slope of more than 10 degrees.
Intensive winter grazing module
A module released in 2021 is available to help achieve immediate improvements to intensive winter grazing practices.
It highlights practical solutions farmers can take to mitigate the effects of grazing livestock on forage crops during the winter months.
The module will be used to inform intensive winter grazing components of existing and new farm plans. It will also enable the components to be tested and incorporated into wider certified freshwater farm plans when they are rolled out.
2021/2022 Intensive Winter Grazing Module [PDF, 1.1 MB]
2021/2022 Intensive Winter Grazing Module – Template [PDF, 1.6 MB]
The Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment are developing further guidance, which will be released during 2022. It will include:
- an updated fact sheet on intensive winter grazing
- an updated farm planning module focused on intensive winter grazing
- guidance on changes to the intensive winter grazing regulations
- technical guidance to support implementation of the intensive winter grazing regulations.
Guides to winter grazing
Who to contact
If you have questions about intensive winter grazing, email email@example.com