Intensive winter grazing (IWG) is a farming practice where large numbers of stock are confined over winter to small feeding areas planted with forage crops.

Making sure it’s done correctly can ensure the welfare of animals and protect the environment and freshwater quality.

Updated regulations will come into effect from 1 November 2022, so will impact the 2023 winter season onwards. These new laws will mean that if you intend on IWG during winter 2023, you need to:

To help determine if you need a consent or not you can answer the questions below:

1. How big is your farm?

Alternatively, you can  use this flow chart (PDF 494 KB) . You can apply for a resource consent using this application form (PDF 393 KB) .

IWG would also be permitted if you have a freshwater farm plan demonstrating that adverse effects are no greater than those allowed for by the regulation conditions.  But, freshwater farm plan regulations are still being finalised, so this is not possible yet.    

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has developed a module to help achieve immediate improvements in intensive winter grazing practices and if you do need a resource consent, or want to know how to manage your IWG better, following this module is a great start.

It highlights practical solutions and Good Management Practices (GMP’s) farmers can take to mitigate the effects of grazing livestock on fodder crops during the winter months.

The module will be used to inform intensive winter grazing components of new certified Farm Environment Plans. It will also enable the components to be tested and incorporated into wider certified freshwater farm plans when they are rolled out from early 2023.

MPI has created a template for a comprehensive intensive winter grazing plan, and background information if needed:

Download the MPI Intensive Winter Grazing Module Template

Download the background information on the MPI Intensive Winter Grazing Module

If you’re unsure about how the rules apply to your situation or if you want to apply for a resource consent, please get in touch with us via

Updated March 27, 2024 at 2:44 PM

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