Monday, 11 January 2016 11:21

El Nino brings mixed bag

Written by 
Farmers in drought-affected parts of New Zealand will continue to feel the impacts of El Niño for months. Farmers in drought-affected parts of New Zealand will continue to feel the impacts of El Niño for months.

Despite recent rain, farmers in drought-affected parts of New Zealand will continue to feel the impacts of El Niño for months, as NIWA's latest seasonal outlook indicates.

January and February are usually drier months in Canterbury.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is monitoring the weather situation closely and keeping Ministers updated. MPI is working through Rural Support Trusts and industry groups to help understand the impacts and ensure that support mechanisms are in place.

"In many of the drought-hit areas, particularly Canterbury and Marlborough, the rain was a great morale booster," says MPI's director of resource policy David Wansbrough.

"Crop farmers have had a better start to the year, as any good rainfall like this really helps new crop growth. But where pasture has died from over a year of dry weather, more rain will be needed to break the drought and it will be months before production recovers.

"Much of Otago was less lucky and didn't receive the rainfall of their northerly neighbours. In the Strath Taieri, some locals are saying it's the driest they have ever seen it."

Rural Support Trusts are saying that the financial and emotional impacts of the ongoing drought are really starting to pinch for some farmers. Farmers and their families can contact their local Rural Support Trusts on 0800 787 254 for advice and information. Federated Farmers feedline on 0800 376 844 can help get feed to drought-hit farms.

"Farmers are doing a good job of working through their drought management plans. For many, destocking in November and early December means that remaining animals can be kept in good condition even under this pressure," says Wansbrough.

"Driving around the lower and eastern North Island you can see plenty of bales of hay in the paddocks, which shows farmers there have geared up well for a dry summer."

An increasingly dry Northland did well out of recent deluges but has since been hammered by strong easterly winds, which hastens the soil drying out and can damage some crops. Under El Niño, elevated activity in the tropics also means a higher chance that cyclones or ex-cyclones could drop closer to NZ, bringing storms and heavy rain to the top and east of the north island.

MPI continues to monitor soil moisture deficits in the North Island, and is also mindful that many farmers are still recovering from the June storms in Taranaki and Whanganui.

 

More like this

Infant formula leads the export charge

New Zealand exports of infant formula are expected to reach the billion dollar mark by 2021, the Ministry for Primary Industry says in its latest Situation and Outlook report.

Back in clover?

By 2021, New Zealand dairying will again be enjoying times like the halcyon days of 2014, says MPI’s latest SOPI report.

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Tuck in with impunity

Cheese lovers can breathe easy. Cheese, milk, and yogurt have been labelled ‘drugs’ of the food world. But are they…

‘We’ll see you right’

An ambulance service for cattle has begun in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state in a bid to protect animals sacred…

 

» Connect with Dairy News

 
 

Markets

South Island wool sale eases

South Island wool sale eases

The 4700 bales on offer saw a 74% clearance with mixed results, however all prices paid locally are still above…

Wool continues to ease

Wool continues to ease

The 7250 bales of North Island wool on offer saw a 72% clearance with most types easing further.