What is Intensive Winter Grazing?

Intensive Winter Grazing is cruel to animals, it’s polluting our rivers, streams, estuaries and groundwater, and it is damaging the reputation of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The practice of confining large numbers of animals into a small area over winter in New Zealand churns paddocks to a deep slurry of mud, faeces and urine. The toxic runoff pollutes our waterways and kills freshwater life in rivers and estuaries.

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Animal suffering: When it rains the land on which these animals are grazed turns to mud, leaving heavily pregnant mothers with nowhere dry to rest and give birth. Cows are forced to give birth in the freezing mud and the calves can become to exhausted to stand. They get exhausted and end up drinking muddy water to hydrate. Dry paddocks are often full of boulders which are painful to stand on.


Freshwater pollution: Nitrate leaches into our aquifers at up to 10 times the rate of normal grazing, destroying groundwater for future use and remaining for hundreds of years.Phosphate and pathogen-rich effluent runs off into streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries, making them unswimmable, and killing ecosystems.

Soil degradation and loss: Intensive winter grazing destroys the soil and releases tonnes of stored carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate breakdown. The practice is heavily dependent on pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, which are causing severe decline in biodiversity and human health. It is also causing huge losses of valuable topsoil. 

Current Appeal

This current campaign was spearheaded by environmentalist Geoff Reid. We were lucky enough to have a discussion with him about this work, and his other campaigns, in this podcast episode. There are better ways to farm. Modelling shows it is economically viable to shift to less intensive farming methods. We can do better, and we must - for the planet, and animals. Please sign the petition calling for an end to intensive winter grazing on state-owned Landcorp farms.