Sum­mer rain keeps farm­ers happy

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By IRIS RID­DELL

Awet­ter-than-av­er­age sum­mer has farm­ers through­out the Waikato smil­ing.

Mata­mata farmer Ross Sains­bury has been farm­ing for more than 35 years and said he could not re­mem­ber the con­di­tions ever be­ing this good.

‘‘It’s very com­fort­able farm­ing at the mo­ment. We have heaps of grass, the cows are well fed and they’re pro­duc­ing plenty of milk. This is pretty much as good as it gets.’’ Mr Sains­bury said he was about 19 per cent up on pro­duc­tion from last year, and al­though he had plenty of silage on hand, he hadn’t needed to use it yet.

Met­ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Daniel Cor­bett said the Waikato’s wet sum­mer was thanks to the La Nina weather sys­tem pick­ing up warm air from the trop­ics.

‘‘Imag­ine a bath­tub of hot wa­ter and you blow the steam across with a fan, that’s what it’s like. That’s why some ar­eas, like the Waikato, tend to have above-nor­mal rain­fall.’’

He said La Nina would prob­a­bly hang around for a few more months, with some drier spells likely for the Waikato.

‘‘The weather has a fas­ci­nat­ing way of be­ing a bit of a roller­coaster ride, but it does even it­self out over time. And while it’s been wet in some places, there are peo­ple in South­land dy­ing for rain. It re­ally has been a sea­son of two halves de­pend­ing on where you are.’’

Mr Sains­bury said the only down­side to the rain was that it made it dif­fi­cult to make hay and silage or shear sheep, ‘‘but it’s only a mi­nor is­sue’’.

He said the flow-through ef­fect would mean Fon­terra would be do­ing very well and so would the New Zealand econ­omy. The Fon­terra pay­out range for 2012 has been fore­cast at $6.90 to $7 which, while a dol­lar less than the 2011 pay­out, is still higher than the long-term av­er­age.

‘‘I’ll be happy with that and it looks like a very good pro­duc­tion year. At some stage in the fu­ture farm­ers will start spend­ing money but they’re not do­ing it yet, I don’t think. Farm­ers are still be­ing fairly care­ful with their in­come,’’ Mr Sains­bury said.

GOOD SEA­SON: A La Nina weather sys­tem has brought higher than nor­mal rain­fall to the Waikato this sum­mer. That rain has meant many of the re­gion’s farm­ers cur­rently have a good level of grass cover.

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