Case Study on a high risk monitoring project of dairy farms in the Waikato region run by the Waikato Regional Council


In 2018 the Waikato Regional Council Farm Monitoring & Compliance Team shifted its dairy farm monitoring focus to High Risk Farms.High Risk is defined by multiple reasons: insufficient storage, expired discharge consent, previous Significant Non- Compliance, properties with abatement notices and other known sites that are a risk but don’t quite fit into the above categories.


The Waikato region has approximately 4200 dairy farms over a large geographical area so monitoring takes a lot of planning and time to get it done. This monitoring takes place during the Spring and the Autumn when there is the greatest risk. All the High Risk farms are unannounced visits with two staff attending the site for health and safety reasons. Sites remain in the High Risk category until they have shown us their operation is no longer High Risk. Many of these farms are visited up to five times during the year. We use a fixed wing aircraft also to make observations of farms of concern. The use of a fixed wing aircraft has enabled us to cover far more ground. If we see something of concern from the air we have ground teams that can follow-up immediately to see exactly what is going on. 

The administrative burden is heavy with many of the sites visited being non-compliant which require further investigation and the possibility of the file moving to an investigations team with prosecution being a possibility. If the team see non-compliance an Abatement notice is always considered and if appropriate it is issued as soon as possible.

The support of the Dairy industry was slow at first but a year on we now have a lot of industry support and we are beginning to see extensive behavioral change to the way effluent is managed through improved staff training or upgraded infrastructure.



Thursday 14th Nov, 1:30pm
Farm Dairy Effluent Panel Discussion

Lead Presenter


  • Stuart Stone
    Waikato Regional Council



  • TBA

Stuart Stone
Team Leader, Waikato Regional Council


After going through Flock House I began a career working on farms which ultimately led to farm management. Through my farming career I worked all types of farms across the North Island. I then moved into what would become a long and successful career in the NZ Police working in South Auckland. In 2016 I took up a role at the Waikato Regional Council as Team Leader of the Monitoring and Compliance team which is responsible for the monitoring and compliance of all dairy farms in our region.