Taranaki’s community spirit on show during horror drought

OPINION: It’s been a grim start to 2018 for dairy farmers in drought-ravaged parts of Taranaki.
* Farmers despair as Taranaki drought persists * Drought in Taranaki, Wellington, Manawatu Whanganui has farmers worried * Drought on the horizon for farms if no rain soon The dire situation has forced James to take drastic steps to ensure the herd he looks after survives until the autumn rains spur his pastures back into life.
James told me that in a normal season his farm milks twice a day until May.
This week he’ll cull some cows.
Not long after James dried off more than 100 of his youngest or low-producing cows, he received a welcome visit from the new Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor.
The cash will be used to help affected communities, organise fun local events, arrange recovery facilitators who will work one-on-one with farmers and coordinate drought support.
In a normal spring, the Lawns would harvest 300 bales of grass silage.
But wind and a lack of rain after planting this spring, has meant crop failures are widespread.
DairyNZ is using its first round of post-holiday farmer discussion groups this month to ramp up support and advice to farmers.
Now is the time to plan for when it does rain again, and to know that your community is there for you.

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