Rain on the wish­list

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By IRIS RIDDELL

It looks like an­other long, dry sum­mer for farm­ers as La Nina con­di­tions hang over the coun­try but Hin­uera dairy farmer Stew Wadey isn’t wor­ried.

‘‘At the mo­ment, we’re still zip­ping along quite well with milk pro­duc­tion but you can see that if we don’t get rain soon we’re go­ing to hit a brick wall,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re go­ing to have some chal­lenges if we don’t get some ap­pre­cia­ble rain.’’

La Nina hit New Zealand last sum­mer, which was a record- breaker for high tem­per­a­tures. Sci­en­tists say the sys­tem is weaker this year but it will still bring long, dry pe­ri­ods with no sus­tained rain­falls.

Mr Wadey said there was still a lot of green in East Waikato thanks to a good spring, which also means plenty of silage has been made, and that hav­ing plenty of sup­ple­men­tary feed is key to get­ting through drought con­di­tions. ‘‘ We have plenty of op­tions to feed our cows, with feed wheat and meal feed­ing, which is quite in vogue at the mo­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of farm­ers are sup­ple­ment­ing grass pas­ture feed­ing with other prod­ucts.

‘‘There are plenty of feed prod­ucts avail­able other than just plain palm ker­nels.’’

Pas­ture man­age­ment is an­other im­por­tant part of last­ing out a drought, said Mr Wadey.

‘‘You want to stretch out your round and get as much out of it as pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve had the wrong end of the stick as far as a good pas­toral farm­ing con­di­tions go. Things have changed a bit but farm­ers are get­ting bet­ter at deal­ing with droughts, I think.’’

The dry con­di­tions have also been caus­ing prob­lems with the growth of sum­mer crops.

‘‘ I planted two pad­docks of turnips re­cently and they’ve been re­ally strug­gling to get go­ing be­cause there’s no mois­ture in the soil. They’re about three weeks be­hind where I’d ex­pect them to be.’’

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