Running out of space

What else should I know about buying rural land? The definition of rural land includes any land that is used or intended to be used for the grazing of livestock, dair...
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Running out of space?

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

Is there any legislation regarding the use of chemicals on lifestyle blocks?

The use of chemicals on any farm in New Zealand is governed by the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act, which is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries. This Act covers the importing, manufacturing, selling and use of all agrichemicals. It also list chemicals and substances that are prohibited by law.
If you intend to use chemicals on your lifestyle block, you must familiarise yourself with your obligations as early as possible.  The consequences of misuse could be highly damaging for the local environment, and for neighbouring farms.  Severe fines and penalties may also be issued to you, causing financial stress.
The Ministry for Primary Industries website contains a wealth of useful information.

What regulations or legislation affects the use of traps and baits on farms?

The Animal Welfare Act covers pest control in New Zealand. The Act specifies the exact types of traps and devices that can be used for trapping and other pest control purposes. It states that animals which are caught alive must be killed humanely.
You should familiarise yourself with your obligations under the Act and ensure that you understand the directions given for the usage of each type of trap and bait.
Misuse of traps or baits can be harmful to domestic animals, livestock and wildlife.  Fines and penalties may also apply.
The Biosecurity New Zealand website is a useful source of further information.

What are the basics of organic farming?

Organic farming is an approach that aims to work with the surrounding natural environment, rather than fighting against it. Only natural fertilisers and chemicals are used, and in some cases these are totally excluded.  Some people say that they can taste a noticeable difference when eating organic foods instead of produce that is intensively farmed.  Prices of organic groceries are generally higher in supermarkets.
Organic farming can make soil heath harder to maintain, and pest control is more difficult.  Weeds must also be tolerated and managed, but not eliminated.
The basics of organic farming involve:
  • Achieving healthy soil without chemicals
  • Managing mildews, fruit flies and scale insects in citrus fruits
  • Managing internal parasites in sheep without chemicals
  • Managing other pests and diseases without chemicals and drugs
There are a large number of resources available about organic farming.  A simple Google search will provide many websites and book choices for you to consider.

Some lifestyle block owners successfully make a living by growing and selling certified organic produce.  Talk to your First National Rural Specialist for advice.

What measures can I take to organically improve the quality of the soil on my lifestyle block?

The best way to improve the quality of your soil is to grow green manure crops such as clover and vetch on your lifestyle block. These crops can be grown during the winter and then be cut down and dug into the soil. The dying plants add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, improving the overall soil quality.
There are plenty of green manure crops you can choose to grow in New Zealand’s temperate climate.  These crops include mustard, lucerne, blue lupin and marigolds. Broad beans are a nice option if you want a crop you can harvest during winter.
Contact local nurseries or agricultural organisations to discuss your lifestyle block farming plans and to find out which crops might be most suitable for your land. 
If you have any remaining questions regarding lifestyle blocks, please contact the friendly First National Real Estate team for guidance.  We're here to help you. 
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