Win­ter leaves drought be­hind for farm­ers

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

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.

Photo: CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Pas­ture greens: Signs of a bro­ken drought are show­ing in the South Waikato with green pas­tures.

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