First pre-grazing flights will take place in May

We are undertaking two flights in both the Waimakariri and Ashburton regions this year, supporting farmers with winter grazing preparation and execution.

An important tool for information and education

Last July, we conducted a flight in the Waimakariri region, looking to see how well farmers had prepared for winter grazing. We found evidence of good practices in strategic grazing and risk minimisation. Our local land management advisor followed up with two farms to provide guidance on buffers to waterways.

Flights have been used by other councils for several years. They are a useful tool to allow councils to gather information on how good management practices are being followed, and see where they can support farmers to make decisions that minimise any potential adverse environmental effects from grazing.

Preparation is key

This May, we will be undertaking more flights to see how farmers in the Waimakariri and Ashburton regions have set up their fields for winter grazing.

Principal Farm Systems advisor Sarah Heddell says that we'll be looking for signs that farmers are following good management practices.

"We want to see appropriate paddock selection, setback distances to waterways and critical source areas protected." Heddell says.

"Our field staff and land management advisors will follow up with farmers to provide any advice or assistance to ensure they're ready to react to the adverse conditions that winter can bring," Heddell added.

Flight details

The flights will be undertaken in a small fixed-wing aircraft over rural parts of the Ashburton and Waimakariri districts, with Environment Canterbury staff members and a local industry person both onboard observing and taking notes. Follow-up advice and support will be provided.

A second round of flights is planned for winter, where winter grazing practices can be observed. These flights will follow a similar route to the May flights.

More support available

If you have questions about good management practice, we're happy to help, and so are industry groups.