Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Strains of Waikato drought bite deeper

28 March 2014

Strains of Waikato drought bite deeper

The ongoing strains of the drought conditions in the Waikato and South Auckland are biting deeper, a teleconference of farmer representatives and officials has heard.

“This is the fourth drought for us in six years and the situation is getting emotionally taxing for some farmers,” said Waikato Federated Farmers president James Houghton.

Figures from Waikato Regional Council discussed at yesterday’s teleconference showed rainfall at Ruakura for the three months to March were the second lowest on record, and there are some very significant soil moisture deficits from around the region.

Farmer representatives talked of:
• the drought conditions being similar to 2013
• high stress levels on some farms
• frustration that Cyclone Lusi hadn’t provided the good rainfall hoped
• concern the forecasts show ongoing low rainfall
• some dairy farmers drying off early or going to once a day milking earlier than usual
• some sheep and beef farmers facing significant feed deficits and challenges breeding replacement stock in successive droughts
• availability of supplementary feed tightening up fast

There was also concern about access to stock water in places.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand extension manager Andrew Jolly said: “The drought is a serious concern for sheep and beef farmers in large parts of Waikato and King Country. There are a range of dry management tools and information that have been emailed through to farmers. I urge farmers to use those resources to make the best decisions for their farm.”

The Rural Support Trust reported farmers generally coping OK, without any need for government recovery measures, but that problems could grow if the lack of rainfall continued.

“The trust will be keeping a very close ear to the ground to monitor what’s happening in the rural community so we can step up support as required. It is critical that we get rain to kick-start pasture recovery over autumn before it gets too cold,” said chairman Neil Bateup.

Farmers can contact the Rural Support Trust for confidential advice and support.

At this stage there are no plans for the region to seek a medium-scale adverse event classification from the Government, which would provide for recovery assistance measures, due to the fact that farmers are generally coping and there has been plenty of feed available. However, there is no doubt there is a localised-scale drought under the Government’s Primary Sector Recovery Policy.

Farmer representatives and officials will be staying in regular touch and sharing information so that they can collectively ramp up the region’s response to the drought as required.

Waikato Regional Council resource use group manager Chris McLay said the organization was ready to reconvene the regional drought committee if the situation warranted. “The next few weeks will be a critical time. We need rain to ensure pasture can recover and livestock can be in optimal condition going into winter and next season.”

Mr Houghton stressed to farmers: “You are not alone, talk to your neighbours, consultants, accountants, banks, DairyNZ, Beef+LambNZ. Farmers are resilient and together we will overcome the challenges of the drought.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news