Drought on the horizon for farms if no rain soon
In the parched Manawatu district of Tokomaru/Linton, dairy farmers are feeding supplements to cows to keep them milking.
This is only the start of summer and we are seeing it so dry.
If it was at the end of summer in three months’ time, we’d expect it.
* Dry weather spells potential problems for farmers * Record dry weather triggers concerns over Christchurch water use Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor has asked officials to keep a close watch on how farmers and growers are managing in dry conditions, as the hot start to summer affects soil moisture levels across the country.
"Farmers and growers in many of our regions are experiencing lower than normal soil moisture levels for this time of year and are planning ahead to manage stock, feed, and water if they don’t get some decent rainfall over the next few weeks," he said.
Industry groups DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb and Federated Farmers said they were not pushing the panic button yet, but were urging farmers to prepare a plan to mitigate the impact.
"The dry weather has got farmers worried about feed to carry through to the summer, and so we’ve got all plants in the North and South Island fully operational now, whereas normally it would be later when we would see the plants hitting their straps.
The lambs could be processed for meat, but the smaller skins did not attract the same value and in some cases none at all.
"What’s been the challenge is that the dry weather has caused some farmers to have been less prepared as they might otherwise have been if they had been able to harvest silage and have more productive pastures.
It was too early to say what impact the dry weather would have on milk supply.