Media release

Media release: Farm flyovers resuming this week

Thursday 6 July 2023

Flights to check that farmers are abiding by Intensive Winter Grazing regulations are resuming tomorrow around Central Otago, with ORC staff to later assess images of farms, forestry operations and waterways.

The assessments from the flights – over farms, forests and waterways in general – are looking at land uses across slopes of more than 10 degrees, critical source areas, wetlands, gullies, and fencing from waterways.


ORC Farm flyover April 2023

ORC waterways farm flyover in April. Photo: Aisleen Dilks.


“The monitoring focus for winter grazing this season is on farms where IWG consents haven’t yet been applied for, and also waterway disturbances,” Mrs Sargeant says.

More than 275 IWG consents covering more than 27,500 hectares have been granted around Otago so far.

“The flights are part of ORC’s ongoing efforts to protect the environment and to help advise farmers to keep to a high standard, for their own environment and which is also better for their stock.”

Mrs Sargeant acknowledges there have been a lot of new rules coming into effect regarding farm operations from Central Government; and that most farmers have good practices for IWG and on-farm activities to protect waterways.

The ORC has engaged with farmers and industry groups since the rules came in 2020. This has included workshops and meetings around rural Otago, which have been well attended by rural communities.

Mrs Sargeant says following the flyovers, staff will assess the information and undertake site visits on high-risk sites to ‘ground truth’ and check compliance. The information is then stored. 

“That means we have a record of those issues from earlier years, and we can build a better picture of areas which may require other types of action in the future,” she says.

She highlighted last year’s flyovers found there had been “a positive change” in IWG practices compared to previous years now that farmers were coming to understand the rules, which is a good outcome for the environment and Otago waterways.

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