The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 sets a cap on fertiliser application to pastoral land. It also places a reporting requirement on any person responsible for operating any dairy farm land.

1 July 2021

Application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to pastoral land for each contiguous landholding cannot exceed more than 190kgN/ha/yr:

  • averaged over the whole pastoral land area; AND
  • to each hectare of the pastoral land area that is not used to
    grow annual forage crops.

Where this cannot be met resource consent is required.

1 July 2022

Where a contiguous landholding includes dairy farm land the person responsible for operating the farm must provide, by 31 July each year, the following information to their Regional Council: area of pastoral use (total area of grazing land);

  • area (ha) of pastoral land use, and within that area the:
    - area (ha) used to grow annual forage crops; AND
    - area (ha) of any other land;
  • area (ha) of any other land uses outside of the pastoral land, i.e. forestry, arable;
  • receipts for purchase of all synthetic nitrogen fertiliser;
  • types of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser applied (kg/ha/yr) and percentage of nitrogen component applied to:
    - land within pastoral use and within that area to:
    a) land used to grow annual forage crops; AND
    b) other land;
    - other land outside of the pastoral land; AND
  • dates of application.

Where this is not met the Regional Council may take enforcement action.

This means that the information for 2021/22 needs to be provided to the Regional Council by 31 July 2022. 

Glossary of Terms

  • Pastoral land is land that is grazed by livestock and includes land grazed by stock on annual fodder crops but does not include land grazed by stock on arable crop stubble.
  • Dairy farmland is land that is used for the grazing of in-milk dairy cows, bulls serving those cows and unweaned dairy calves.
  • A contiguous landholding of pastoral land is where pastoral land encompasses one or more land parcels within a farm. Parcels physically separated by a road, railway or waterbody are considered contiguous. Other land physically separated, i.e. a separate block down the road would be considered a separate landholding even if run as part of the same operation. This interpretation could be subject to further change.
  • Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser can be liquid or solid and is more than 5% nitrogen by weight, but doesn’t include: compost, soil treatment, or fertilisers that are derived from plant or animal waste and is minimally processed.