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Wintering practice in spotlight

THE New Zealand farming sector supports additional efforts to improve winter grazing practices on farms, with a particular focus on the welfare of their animals.

DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand stated this week they do not condone poor winter grazing and support building on the significant efforts already under way to eliminate practices which impact on the environment and animal welfare.

“No one accepts poor winter grazing practices. Our organisations are firm on this,” said DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Dr Jenny Jago.

“Dairy and beef sectors have a role to play in protecting our waterways, and therefore ensuring good-practice winter grazing on farms is crucial to support the environment and keep our animals healthy.”

Dr Jago said much work had been taking place to address poor winter grazing practices and she was encouraged by the progress that was being made, but there was still work to be done.

“The vast majority of farmers take great pride in caring for their animals and the environment.

“There’s been significant investment into on-farm initiatives which protect the environment and animal welfare, and we will continue to expand on that.

“We have been working together and with central and regional government to review and improve the resources available for farmers, while also supporting improved crop grazing practices on farms and reinforcing compliance.”

Beef and Lamb NZ’s North Island general manager, Matt Ward, said: “In the past year, DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand have had a particular focus on good management practices for winter cropping, through workshops and events with farmers. “The sector is looking to underpin this work through commitments by DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand for all farms to report under farm assurance programmes or sustainability frameworks.

“This would ensure animals are well cared for and farmed in a way that has the best outcomes for the environment.

“Water quality is a community issue and we all have a part to play.

“We are not at the destination yet, but our farmers are rapidly making changes to protect the environment and their animals.”

Mr Ward said poor grazing practices could often be a sign of other issues at play.

“Which is why we encourage farmers to talk to the farmers involved and get in touch with their industry good organisation, Federated Farmers or the Rural Support Trust, who can also contact the farmer in question and provide support.”

Focused on improvement: Poor grazing practices can often be a sign farmers need support, says Beef and Lamb NZ’s North Island general manager, Matt Ward. Picture supplied