Monitoring the impact of farm practices on water quality in the Otago and Southland deer focus farms


  • R.W. Mcdowell
  • N. Mcgrouther
  • G. Morgan
  • M.S. Srinivasan
  • D.R. Stevens
  • M. Johnson
  • R. Copland



Research on the soil and water quality of deer farms is minimal. However, the perception is that many deer operations may be detrimental to soil and water quality. To address this problem two deer focus farms (DFF, 1 each in Otago and Southland) were established to showcase how productivity and environmental objectives can coincide. Managements implemented by the farmers included a sedimentation pond, fencing off waterways and retiring land under a QEII covenant. A detailed soil and water quality testing regime occurred for each farm: data were collected at the Southland DFF for three tributaries (one fenced off, one partially fenced and one unfenced) which fed into a stream and through a tussock covered area retired from grazing. Water quality in the unfenced and partially fenced tributaries was poor with no water quality parameters meeting ANZECC guidelines, whereas water quality in the fenced-off and planted tributary was better. Water exiting the retired area met ANZECC guidelines. Although water quality on parts of both deer farms did not meet ANZECC guidelines, when management practices such as fencing off and the creation of a pond were used water quality improved. More importantly, an area retired from grazing and further development on the Southland DFF showed that water quality could be significantly improved and could be better than that entering the farm. Keywords: fencing-off, QEII covenant, sedimentation pond, water quality







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