Excluding stock from waters is, in most situations, the single most effective management practice on farm for improving water quality.
Livestock can contribute nutrients (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus), sediment and faecal coliforms to our waterways. They do this though the direct deposition of dung and urine into rivers, and the treading damage and reduction in beneficial vegetation that results from grazing stream banks. These actions also stimulate a range of other effects in stream that reduce the quality of water, the ecological health of our streams and riparian margins. Effluent in our waterways can also be a human health risk and is culturally offensive to iwi.
Eight main things to know about the stock exclusion rules in the Tukituki catchment
- Stock exclusion rules apply after 31 May 2020 but you need to start planning now.
- You do not need to exclude sheep
- You will have to exclude all stock (other than sheep) from waterway on land with a slope less than 15 degrees.
- On sloping land greater than 15 degrees you do not need to exclude stock if the stocking rate, excluding sheep, is less than 18su/ha when in the paddock, including the waterway.
- If you are not in a priority sub-catchment and you will have a stocking rate, excluding sheep, of more than 18su/ha on land greater than 15 degrees, and if you feel it is not reasonably practical to exclude stock, you can identify other actions that you will take to reduce phosphorus losses from your farms. Details these in your Farm Environmental Management Plan (FEMP).
- You must exclude stock from all flowing permanent and intermittent rivers/creeks, lakes and wetlands. An intermittent river or creek is a waterway that periodically flows and has a defined river bed that is predominantly un-vegetated and comprised of silt, sand, gravel and similar.
- You are allowed to graze fenced-of riparian areas for weed control purposes, however you can only do this between 1 November and 30 April for a total of 7 days.
The rule of thumb is that we do not want to see stock standing in water. This may mean excluding stock all year round or just excluding them in winter.
Do I have to plant the stock excluded areas?
Planting and management of riparian strips alongside waterways is not a condition of the Tukituki Plan Change. It is actively encouraged because it has multiple benefits for both water quality and biodiversity, and can also help with farm management. The regional council has good quality native plants for sale – further information is provided here.
What is a stock unit?
The definition of stock unit that HBRC uses are the same as those used in the Beef & Lamb survey, and for benchmarking stock classes not included in the survey, the overseer defaults are used.
If you are not sure whether you need to exclude stock from streams on your property, get in touch with someone in the Land Management team who can help you out.