We’re here to help you meet the new guidelines
It’s important for all farmers to understand the Essential Freshwater Policy and what it means for you. We’re here to help you navigate these rules, by supporting on-farm innovation with clever science and world-leading tools. Together, we will continue to improve water quality across New Zealand.
Which sectors will this policy impact?
This policy will affect a range of sectors, especially high-input, intensively grazed livestock systems
What effects will this have on-farm?
We’ve summarised the main points in this easy guide - read on to get an overview of how the new policy applies to you. On the right you’ll find links to read the full policy documents.
Nitrogen fertiliser cap
Intensive winter grazing
Areas used for intensive winter grazing from 2021 onwards must comply with the Certified Freshwater Farm Plan. If no plan exists, there are several conditions which must be met for the cropped area. Click here to read the full policy
The cropped area is no greater than 50ha or 10% of the total property area, whichever is greater. It must be no greater than the largest total area in any single year between 2014-2019.
The paddock must have an average slope less than or equal to 10 degrees.
Pugging (more than 5cm deep) must not cover more than 50% of the cropped area. In addition, pugging must not be deeper than 20cm at any point (excluding around fixed structures).
All livestock must be kept more than 5m away from all waterways (including rivers, lakes, wetlands and drains) in cropped areas, regardless of whether water is flowing.
Crop paddocks must be replanted as soon as possible, but no later than 1" October of same year. Farmers in Otago and Southland have until 1" November to replant.
Intensification and land use
Converting more than 10ha of land to a more intensive use now requires resource consent. This applies to pastoral, pastoral to dairy, or increasing the irrigated area in a dairy system.
Note - this does not apply to sheep
Disturbance of wetlands (i.e. earthworks, vegetation clearance) is only permitted for certain reasons (e.g. restoration, scientific research, and clearing debris). Councils must receive at least 10 days' notice of these activities, and may require consent
Feedlots and stock holding areas
From winter 2021, feedlots will need to meet minimum standards for permeability, effluent management, and proximity to waterbodies.
From 2023, irrigation consent holders who take more than 5-20 litres of water per second must:
- Measure water use every 15 minutes
- Electronically submit records to council every day.
Click here for our overview document.
These are listed below and took effect on 3 September 2020:
- National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM 2020)
- National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW)
- Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020
- Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of water Takes) Regulations 2010
For more information
To discuss the specific requirements for your farm, contact your local Regional Council.
For industry information on the policy, contact Beef & Lamb, DairyNZ, Deer lndustry NZ, HortNZ.
Contact your local Ballance Nutrient Specialist or one of our Farm Sustainability Services team. Alternatively, contact our Customer Services team on 0800 222 090.