Farmers told: no cows on stopbank

Last updated 12:10 10/07/2012

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With wet weather setting in, farmers and lifestyle block owners are under orders not to let their cows graze stopbanks as this could compromise safety for the rest of the community.

Horizons Regional Council area engineer Paul Joseph said landowners needed to remember that stopbanks provided essential flood protection for thousands of people and were not a feed pad.

"It's really just common sense to keep the cattle off the stopbanks at this time of year, with wetter weather setting in."

Mr Joseph said that landowners knew the rules and were in most cases co-operative.

Landowners can be held responsible for damage caused by stock and asked to pay for repairs.

"The stopbanks not only protect property and production worth billions of dollars but they also ensure the safety of thousands of people."

Mr Joseph said the protection factor was vital.

"Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link and all it takes is one breached section of stopbank to flood hundreds of hectares of farmland," he said.

Stopbanks are one of Horizons' biggest flood protection tools and the regional council manages and maintains almost 420 kilometres of them, protecting more than 46,000 hectares of land.

Only cattle younger than 18 months old are allowed to graze stopbanks – during dry periods when the soil is firm and there has been no heavy or continuous rain.

Grazing is not allowed at all between June 15 and September 15.

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- Manawatu Standard

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