Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Rains helped some areas, others left dry: Landcorp’s Kelly

Patchy rains helped some areas, others left dry, Landcorp’s Kelly says

By Kristen Paterson

March 18 (BusinessDesk) – Patchy rains have provided relief for some farming areas and left others without substantive moisture, says Chris Kelly, chief executive of state-owned Landcorp, New Zealand’s biggest farmer.

The West of the North Island saw higher rainfall, with 15-40 millimetres from Northland to Waitomo down through to Taranaki. The West Coast, which applied for drought status last week, received 20-40 mm with more expected to come. The East Coast fared the worst, experiencing no substantial rains, MetService says.

"Where we've had rainfall of 20mm it's been a huge help but some areas have had as low as 2mm," Kelly told BusinessDesk. "What we need now is steady rain, not too heavy or it will wash away the top soil, and a moderate temperature for the grass to grow."

Finance Minister Bill English says the impact of drought could erase $2 billion from gross domestic product, as milk production and pasture dry up and farmers send more livestock for processing. That’s up from the government’s estimate of $1 billion just a week ago. The impact could be multi-year as farmers have to rebuild herds and flocks.

Already the effects of prolonged dry weather have been felt in sales of Fonterra Cooperative Group’s dairy products through the GlobalDairyTrade platform, with prices jumping 10.4 percent in the last sale two weeks ago. The next auction is scheduled for March 19.

Predicted showers today and tomorrow are hoped to bring more relief although the weekend’s rains may have been the heaviest for now.

"There will be a few showers sticking around, but for most of the country high pressure returns from midweek through to the end of the week and the weather will be pretty settled and dry," says MetService acting communications meteorologist John Law.

Rain has arrived in the first month of autumn and to be useful it needs to fall before temperatures being to chill, Kelly said.

A steady soil temperate of above 9 degrees Celsius and plenty of moisture is necessary for grass growth, he said. “If the temperature drops and we have a cold snap, even with rain the grass won't grow."

Landcorp manages 135 properties and 1.5 million stock units throughout the country, according to its website.

Phillip Duncan from privately owned forecaster Weatherwatch says weather patterns look promising for gradual easing, with improvements in each region rather than big low fronts of the kind that brought the weekend rain.

"In the next two to four weeks there will be showers popping up a lot more often,” he said. “It's a positive change we're seeing, it's just taking a long time for the change to happen."

The highs that have dominated the weather system are forecast to ease in length and frequency. The distance between the past two highs was only 6,500 kilometres, but the distance between the last high and the high coming in on Tuesday is 9,000 km, he said

"The greater the gap between highs, the greater chance for these rainmaking systems to come in," he says.

Georgina Griffiths, from NIWA, says that the long range forecast for March, April and May shows a return to normal weather patterns when the highs lose their grip, with a warm start to autumn.

"There should be some reasonably heavy rainfall across autumn, with rain becoming more regular as autumn progresses and there should be a return to normal rainfall patterns," she says.

While the drought will affect the agricultural sector financially, the fine weather has led to buoyant consumer confidence which may offset the negative impact on the economy, according to Robin Clements of UBS.

Additionally, farmers who have cut down their stock levels have led freezing works across the country to work overtime to cope with the influx.

"The end result may not be as dire as it appears," Clements says.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Broadcasters Launch Battle Against Global Mode ISPs

New Zealand broadcasters have confirmed they’ve launched legal proceedings against internet service providers who give customers’ access to “global mode”, which allows customers access to offshore online content, claiming it breaches the local content providers’ copyright. More>>

ALSO:

Sanford: Closure Of Christchurch Mussel Processing Plant Confirmed

The decision comes after a period of consultation with the 232 staff employed at the Riccarton site, who were told on 9 April that Sanford was considering the future of mussel processing in Christchurch. Recent weather patterns had impacted on natural spat (offspring) supply... More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese: Dairy Product Prices Fall To The Lowest This Year

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, hitting the lowest level in the 2015 auctions so far, as prices for milk powder and butter slid amid concern about the outlook for commodities. More>>

ALSO:

Houston, We Have An Air Route: Air New Zealand To Fly Direct To The Heart Of Texas

Air New Zealand will fly its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week opening up the state of Texas as well as popular nearby tourist states such as Louisiana and Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Reserve Bank’s Spencer Calls On Govt To Rethink Housing Tax

The Reserve Bank has urged the government to take another look at a capital gains tax on investment in housing, allow increased high-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address an over-heated Auckland property market. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news