Drought Broken But More Rain Needed

Posted by Waikato Regional Council on 23/04/2014

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Recent rain in Waikato and South Auckland has set farmers on the road to recovery from the drought but the situation remains fragile for some, a meeting of farming leaders and central and local Government officials has heard.

The teleconference attended by Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and other farming groups, the Rural Support Trust, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Waikato Regional Council was told there had been good rain in the two regions over the past week.

There was general agreement that the drought had been “broken” by the rain but rainfall totals still weren’t that much in some places, some pasture was still brown and that more rain was needed over coming weeks to ensure that recovery continued.

“The feedback I’m getting after the rain is that mentally people are in a better place and we can hopefully move on from here,” said Rural Support Trust chairman Neil Bateup.

“Farmers are now in a position where they feel they can plan better for the winter. But it will be important for us to keep getting more rain over coming weeks,” said Mr Bateup.

One particular concern was that not enough ongoing rain between now and winter, coupled with a cold winter, could significantly stifle pasture recovery.

Farmer representatives and officials agreed that they would continue to jointly monitor the situation closely.

“We have arranged to catch up again within the next few weeks to review how the recovery is going,” said Waikato Federated Farmers president James Houghton.

“We should collectively have a better idea by mid-May how farms are recovering from this drought and can then discuss further what extra steps may be needed to help farmers manage going forwards.”