No practices of major concern were seen from the plane during an aerial survey of the region's intensive winter grazing, Horizons Regional Council strategy and regulation manager Nic Peet says.
On July 12-16 council staff flew over the catchments of the Rangitīkei, Whangaehu and Turakina rivers.
They wanted to know how intensive winter grazing was being done, because the Government will introduce new rules for it in May 2022. At the moment consent is not needed, unless the intensive winter grazing area is being expanded or undertaken for the first time.
More than 100 sites were noted in the flyover.
"At least from the air, there were no areas or practices of major concern identified, and some examples of good practice being employed," Peet said in a statement.
Council consent monitoring officers will now make follow-up visits, offering support for farmers near waterways to meet the new standards.
Horizons was not setting those rules, Rangitīkei Rivers Catchment Collective chairman Roger Dalrymple said, but it could help farmers comply.
He said he was pleased the council found more positives than negatives in the flights, and that farmers knew they were happening.
Negatives could have been cattle standing in water, or crops grown right to the edge of a waterway.
Farmers are now required to fence off "critical source areas" - places where water flows, and leave an ungrazed strip between areas planted in winter crops and waterways.
There was no exact definition of what made "a decent strip", Dalrymple said - that depended on soil type and slope.
The strips should be grazed last, if at all.
Everyone had been focused on cattle, but sheep should be contained in the same way when grazing winter crops.
Trying to keep 1000 ewes contained with a three-wire fence was extremely challenging, Dalrymple said. It may mean some areas were not planted in crops at all.
On many farms stock water was at the lowest point in a paddock. Stock were now expected to graze downhill.
"That's all fine and good as long as there's a water source uphill for the animals. People are going to have to put in some water systems."
Practices had improved massively over the last five years, Dalrymple said, but more would be needed.
"Farmers still have to try and operate their business, so it's a slow thing but it's getting everyone on the ladder."
The catchment collective now has 16 sub-catchments and three paid co-ordinators.
The collective can provide experts to help farmers comply with rules and make farm plans.
"We are basically a formal structure that manages money and catches all the information about what farmers are doing," Dalrymple said.