Winter leaves drought behind for farmers
Much anticipated rain has broken the drought but there is such thing as ‘too cool’ for the South Waikato.
A meeting with farming officials and central and local Government officials concluded rainfall had been good for the region.
There was a general consensus amongst the organsations that although the drought was ‘broken’ continued rainfall is needed to enter a successful winter.
The teleconference attended by Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and other farming groups, the Rural Support Trust, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Waikato Regional Council was told there had been good rain in the Waikato.
Yet chair of the Tokoroa Branch for Waikato Federated Farmers Mary- Ann Mathis said cooler temperatures leading into winter is a concern.
Mathis said although coninued rainfall will be beneficial, the cold weather may defect the seed for growing grass.
‘‘ Last year was good because it was consistently warm,’’ she said.
Mathis said the South Waikato would be especially effected due to frosts.
Farmer representatives and officials agreed they would jointly monitor the drought recovery.
‘‘ We have arranged to catch up again within the next few weeks to review how the recovery is going,’’ Waikato Federated Farmers president James Houghton said.
‘‘ We should collectively have a better idea by midMay how farms are recovering from this drought and can then discuss further what extra steps may be needed to help farmers manage going forwards.’’
Rural Support Trust chairman Neil Bateup believed the rain had brought relief to the region’s farmers.
‘‘The feedback I’m getting after the rain is that mentally people are in a better place and we can move on from here,’’ Bateup said.
‘‘Farmers are now in a position where they feel they can plan better for the winter. But it will be important for us to keep getting more rain over coming weeks.’’
However there are concerns that an overcompensation of rain and a cold winter could stifle pasture recovery.
Pasture greens: Signs of a broken drought are showing in the South Waikato with green pastures.