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Dairy Farm Consent Compliance Up

Otago dairy farmers are being congratulated for upping their compliance around effluent storage and discharges, compared with a year ago.

ORC’s Manager Compliance Tami Sargeant says it’s good to recognise the compliance outcome by farmers farms alongside the work of ORC’s dairy team.

“It’s really great to see high compliance across the more than 400 farms we’ve inspected in the financial year-to-date, and to see improved compliance another few points up on last year,” Ms Sargeant says.

The dairy farm compliance inspections are primarily around effluent management - storage and discharge – with ORC also monitoring compliance with rules for landfills, silage, offal pits and permitted water takes.

For the 10-month year-to-date, to the end of April, dairy inspections were up 28.7%, from 317 a year ago to 408.

Full compliance with rules rose from 61% of the total a year ago to 66%, while those in the grade of “significant non-compliance” fell, from 3% to 2% for the year, she says.

“The dairy project monitors compliance with animal effluent systems and discharges, as well as farm waste streams, such as their offal pits and farm landfills, plus their permitted water takes.”

“There was also a focus on providing awareness and engaging with farmers on the requirements for animal effluent storage and discharge consents, and understanding when consents might be required,” Ms Sargeant says.

Farmers compliance guide: https://www.orc.govt.nz/consents-and-compliance/the-farmer-s-guide

Consent compliance numbers - 2022-23 Vs 2023-24

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Ms Sargeant says the reasons for non-compliance were largely all related to unconsented effluent storage, effluent pond overflows, effluent ponding, offal pit and farm landfill mixing, setbacks and silage leachate discharges.

“In many of these cases it was a simply a matter of education and reiterating best management practices around some operations, activities or changes to infrastructure,” she says.

Compliance by percentages

Although separate to the effluent storage and discharge consenting, Ms Sargeant noted that with Government changes to IWG consenting yet to be announced, she highlighted that the changes did not come into effect until winter 2025.

ORC wants farmers to continue to operate in line with good management practice and their resource consents this winter, given the key focus of these was the grazing management plans, which people have already completed.

“Please keep your consents as they will give farmers certainty through this period and will still apply to this winter,” she says.

Ms Sargeant also had a timely reminder for dairy farmers, of their requirement to report their annual fertiliser use to ORC by 31 July 2024; under NES-FW (a requirement of the national environmental standards for freshwater).

Key points for farmers and IWG consenting:

  • Operate in line with good management practice for this winter including having a grazing management plan.
  • If you do not have a consent continue to meet the permitted activity rules in the regulations.
  • Continue to operate in line with the conditions of their resource consent which provide certainty in a time of regulatory uncertainty

ORC - Please contact our Consents Team if you are thinking about applying for a consent only for winter 2024.

Grazing management plan template here.

ORC’s Pollution Hotline – 0800 800 033

DairyNZ also has a range of winter grazing information to help farmers plan and manage their animals and environment over winter at dairynz.co.nz/wintering.


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