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Feedlots and stockholding areas

​There are new rules for feedlots and stockholding areas under the Government's Essential Freshwater Package.

What is changing

Feedlots and other stockholding areas must:

  • be setback from all bodies of water
  • meet minimum permeability standards
  • provide for effluent management.

The new regulations apply to farms with:

  • five hectares or more of horticulture
  • 20 hectares or more of pasture or arable crops
  • 20 hectares or more of a combination of the above.


The National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESF) defines a feedlot as 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.

Feedlot rules

You can use land for feedlots and not need a resource consent if at least 90 per cent of the cattle are:

  •  under four months old
  • weigh less than 120 kilograms.

If you do not meet the above condition, you need a resource consent for your feedlot.

Stockholding areas

A stockholding area is an area for holding cattle at a density that means pasture or other ground cover cannot be maintained. For example:

  • feed pads
  • winter pads
  • stand-off pads
  • loafing pads.

Stockholding area rules

You can use land for stockholding and not need a resource consent if at least 90 per cent of the cattle are:

  • under four months old
  • weigh less than 120kg.

You can use land for holding larger and older cattle in a stockholding area (other than a feedlot) without a resource consent if you meet all the following conditions:

  • The base area of the stockholding section is sealed to a minimum permeability standard of 10-9 m/s.
  • Effluent expelled in the stockholding area is collected, stored and disposed of under Auckland Unitary Plan rules or a resource consent.
  • The stockholding area is at least 50 metres from any bodies of water, water abstraction bore, drain or coastal marine area.

See the Ministry for the Environment for a fact sheet on regulations.

Intensive winter grazing

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

The Essential Freshwater Package introduced new requirements to manage this type of farming activity.

See the Ministry for the Environment for the latest information on intensive winter grazing regulations.

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