8 Apr 2009

Department urged to rethink de-stocking practice

11:54 am on 8 April 2009

High-country farmers are urging the Department of Conservation to reconsider de-stocking South island pastoral runs after they have been brought into the conservation estate.

The call follows the putting up for sale this week of 1,000 ewes and lambs from the St James Station.

The department is selling off stock from the north Canterbury station after the Government bought the lease last year for $40 million.

St James Station covers more than 78,000 hectares and included the country's largest Crown pastoral lease.

Federated Farmers high-country chairman Donald Aubrey says de-stocking has been normal practice when the department takes over a property, but he says it should reconsider that stand in the interests of weed and pest control.

Mr Aubrey says using stock to help control weeds such as broom will reduce the need for taxpayer spending on chemical sprays.