Still no end in sight as drought persists
THERE has hopefully been rain across most of the North Island but we are still a while from seeing the end of the drought.
A shower or two followed by a return to dry, sunny days could simply help weed species become even more firmly rooted, while any regenerating pasture that sprouted could be quickly burnt off again before any benefits were felt.
I’m crossing my fingers for a steadier week of showers, interspersed with some sunshine, to help our crisped pastures grow at the rate we need.
It has been clear from the Big Dry meetings organised by Federated Farmers Waikato that just about everyone in the countryside is experiencing some kind of drought-related stress, from graziers to farm equipment suppliers, farm owners to sharemilkers. There have been a few harrowing stories and some good advice shared.
At one meeting I attended, graziers admitted they were struggling to provide feed profitably. Hopefully, they got some rain over the weekend, which could be the get-outof-jail-free card they have been looking for.
The rain that fell is not a drought-breaker. Fingers crossed that a new front is looming on the horizon.
In the meantime, it is so important we keep our lines of communication open and operate within the law.
In stress situations, there is always an increased possibility for greater misunderstandings to arise.
All contractors, including sharemilkers, need to be aware they cannot use the drought as an excuse for not delivering on the terms of their contract.
There may be some negotiated leeway if people are proactive in keeping their employers informed of the situation and of what they are trying to do to manage it.
However, a contract is a contract and neither side can wilfully change the conditions.
Sharemilkers and employers need to set aside any past grievances, as both sides of the business partnership need to come to an agreed management plan.
If this proves difficult, call in an independent adviser to help reach a fair decision.
Not coming up with an agreed workable plan could lead to next year’s production being compromised and a business relationship coming to grief.
If you do not think you can meet pasture cover or herd condition requirements, seek help now from DairyNZ or other advisory service and keep talking.
This also goes for feed suppliers who are running late on contracted delivery schedules.
There are stories going around of frustrated farmers who have faced delays of more than a week.
When feed stocks are so tight, delays severely affect farmers’ ability to feed their stock.
Obviously some companies have not learnt from the prosecutions for breaking contracts after the last drought.
There may be some way to negotiate to an easier space but this cannot be taken for granted.
Everyone is parched and no-one is going to have any sympathy for those who