Managing farm waterways

By Gord Stewart


There are many benefits from protecting and managing farm waterways and time and resources put into the effort should be considered an investment, not a cost. Some farmers also face dairy company or council requirements to protect waterways running through or alongside farms (via fencing, planting, etc).

DairyNZ's set of nine Farmfacts on Managing Waterways on Farms provide practical, how-to advice for planning and getting started, fencing, planting and re-vegetation, controlling weeds and pests, protecting wetlands and constructing drains and sediment traps.

You can view and download the Farmfacts at www.dairynz.co.nz. Look for Farmfacts on the home page, then go to Environment and Managing Waterways.

Handy hints



  • Simple things you can do to further protect waterways in paddocks:


  • Provide shade and shelter away from the water.


  • Monitor grazing and move stock if they start to damage banks.


  • Avoid grazing near waterways during wet periods (use temporary fencing).


  • Put in culverts or bridges where stock naturally cross waterways.


  • Provide reticulated water.


  • Managing weeds and pests in the first two years after planting is critical for plant survival.


  • Here are some ways to make weed control more manageable:


  • Where weeds are present, plan and carry out a programme of control in the 12 months before planting.


  • Put larger plants at closer spacings to reduce weed competition.


  • Check on weed growth regularly, especially during spring and summer.


  • Keep on top of shade-tolerant weeds.


  • Use stakes to mark the position of seedlings so they can be easily found when small.


- Stratford Press

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