Tuesday, 05 March 2019 09:35

Drying out

Written by  Peter Burke

Reports from many regions say the green grass seen on farms in January has now turned brown.

Certainly this is so on the east coast of both the North and South Islands.

In Waikato, the farm consultancy company AgFirst says things are looking dry on farm. Steven Howarth told Rural News they had a good spring and summer with plenty of feed. But this has burnt off and the promised rain that fell a week ago wasn’t the quantity they were looking for.

“The conditions have created some challenges for farmers with some struggling to get space at processing plants to get their stock killed,” he says.

Howarth says lamb performance has also been variable: good growth rates for some while others struggle with the dry conditions.

Beef cattle have had a good summer, says Agfirst, but now the challenge is getting stock killed after farmers held them back to put on extra weight.

With rain and warm temperatures, the warning is out to farmers to monitor spore counts as there is a risk of facial eczema in some regions, notably the King Country.

“But countering that some cold spells have reduced the risk,” Howarth says.

Apart from this, Howarth says relatively good livestock prices have helped keep up morale onfarm.

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