Media release

Media release: New winter grazing regulations in play

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Farmers around Otago are being encouraged to begin applying for their future intensive winter grazing consents, with the Government regulations for intensive winter grazing having gone live today.

Otago Regional Council’s Manager Consents Joanna Gilroy says the regulations around intensive winter grazing (IWG) start on 1 November and apply for winter 2023 and beyond.

“We know farmers are busy, especially so in the springtime, but we’re encouraging them to begin engaging in the consenting process as soon as they can,” she says.

She notes the Minister for the Environment, David Parker, has confirmed that the regulations will not be deferred to a later date.

Ms Gilroy says the application for consent should cover multiple years, with any consents then granted for a specific duration.

Cattle grazing in paddock


“In most instances we’re encouraging farmers to apply for consent for the next three to five years,” she says.

Farmers will then need to update their management plan annually, telling ORC where they have grazed in the previous year, and where they plan to graze during the next season. They only need to apply for the consent once.

While farmers need to apply for the paddocks they’re likely to graze over the next few years, actual paddock selection and the day to day farm operation is still in the farmer’s hands.


Online form, or postal options

ORC has introduced a bespoke process aimed at reducing the time and cost associated with processing consents for IWG.

“We’ve already processed some of these consent applications, so the ORC team is ready to go and assist where needed,” Ms Gilroy says.

“There is a lot of information on the ORC website to help farmers navigate the consent process.”

Ms Gilroy says farmers can use existing grazing templates, but notes ORC has prepared a template for use which they can access.

Enquiry levels have been “steady” so far and the number of consent applications are increasing, with processing at present taking five days, or less, she says.


Consents team and catchment advisors available

The ORC’s consents team and catchment advisors are available now for management advice and an online form is live and ready for use, but farmers can still use print off a form to fill in, and post it back, she says.

ORC is also preparing some videos explaining the regulations and the consent process and has run field visits in some rural communities recently to offer further support, she says.

“We appreciate farm operations can be fluid. The process we’ve developed provides for farmers to change their plan in response to the many factors which can influence day to day management,” Ms Gilroy says.

Farmers will need to pay a $1900 deposit to cover the cost of processing and securing the consent, and may also have to pay a compliance monitoring fee.

Ms Gilroy says farmers can still undertake the activity without consent, but only if they can meet the permitted criteria in the regulations.

Advice can be sought from

Good practice information including paddock plan and intensive winter grazing plan

New water rules winter grazing information including fact sheet 

Ready to apply for a consent with pdf for intensive winter grazing plan and applications form 

The IWG rules were introduced by Government as part of its wider Essential Freshwater package, with ORC responsible for implementing them.