Here's all the information about the rules around feedlots and stockholding areas.
What are feedlots and stockholding areas?
A feedlot is a stockholding area where cattle are kept for at least 80 days in any six-month period and are fed exclusively by hand or machine while a stockolding area is an area for holding cattle at a density that means pasture or other ground cover can’t be maintained. Both areas pose a high-risk to the quality of our waterways if not managed well.
Stronger controls on feedlots and stockholding areas were introduced in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (NES-FW) as part of the Government’s Essential Freshwater reforms. The feedlot rules came into force on 3 September 2020 and the stockholding regulations came into effect on 1 July 2021.
Holding small and young cattle in a feedlot is a permitted activity if 90 per cent or more of the cattle held are no more than four months old, or weigh no more than 120 kilograms. The use of feedlots for all other cattle requires a resource consent.
Holding cattle in a feedlot must comply with the following conditions to be considered a discretionary activity:
- the base area of the feedlot must be sealed to a minimum permeability standard of 10-9 m/s, and
- effluent expelled in the feedlot must be collected, stored and disposed of in accordance with a rule in a regional or district plan, or a resource consent, and
- the feedlot must be at least 50 metres away from any waterway, water bore, drain and the coastal marine area.
Otherwise holding cattle in a feedlot is a non-complying activity and a resource consent will be required.
The regulations apply to the use of land for holding cattle in a stockholding area other than a feedlot, and to associated discharges of contaminants into or onto land, including in circumstances that may result in a contaminant entering water.
These are permitted activities provided they comply with the following conditions:
- 90 per cent or more of the cattle held are no more than four months old, or weigh no more than 120 kilograms, or
- fewer than 90 per cent of the cattle are no more than four months old or weigh no more than 120 kilograms, but
- the base area of the stockholding area must be sealed to a minimum permeability standard of 10-9 m/s, and
- effluent expelled in the stockholding area must be collected, stored, and disposed of in accordance with a rule in the Regional Freshwater Plan for Taranaki or district plan, or a resource consent, and the stockholding area must be at least 50 metres away from any waterway, water bore, drain and the coastal marine area.
If your stockholding area does not meet the standards above a resource consent will be required.
Note there are no new rules that specifically cover sacrifice paddocks and they are excluded from the definition of a stockholding area. However it is not okay to pollute waterways, even if there is no rule covering your activity
In Taranaki, many feedpads would be considered stockholding areas. If you are unsure, contact us for guidance - email@example.com.
Ministry for the Environment (MfE) factsheet(external link) | Stockholding definition guidance(external link)
The Essential Freshwater reforms: a quick guide
The Government’s Essential Freshwater reform package aims to protect and improve our rivers, streams and wetlands to stop further degradation of freshwater, start making immediate improvements and reverse past damage to bring our waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM 2020) sets out the policies and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW) establishes the regulations to achieve this.
What this means for people in Taranaki is requirements are being set for those carrying out certain activities that pose risks to freshwater and freshwater ecosystems. Anyone carrying out these activities will need to comply with the standards and, in many cases, people need to apply for a resource consent from the Council to continue carrying out regulated activities.
All of this is underpinned by Te Mana o te Wai(external link) (the mana of the water). Te Mana o te Wai means that when managing freshwater, the health and well-being of the water is protected and human health needs are provided for before enabling other uses of water.