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Government keeping an eye on the dry

Hon Damien O’Connor

Minister Agriculture

6 December 2017


Government keeping an eye on the dry

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor has asked officials to keep a close watch on how farmers and growers are managing in dry conditions, as the hot start to summer affects soil moisture levels across the country.

“Farmers and growers in many of our regions are experiencing lower than normal soil moisture levels for this time of year,” says Mr O’Connor, “and are planning ahead to manage stock, feed, and water if they don’t get some decent rainfall over the next few weeks.

“Local knowledge is essential, and our Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) analysts in each area work with their local farmers and groups to keep an eye on how climate conditions around the country are affecting rural communities. I have asked them to be especially vigilant in reporting concerns over the next few weeks.”

MPI works closely with groups, including Rural Support Trusts, regional councils, local civil defence emergency management groups and other government agencies to gather information.

NIWA meteorologist Chris Brandolino says below normal rainfall is expected for most of New Zealand for at least the next 10 days with perhaps only localised exceptions.

“It’s distinctly possible that much of the country will experience below normal rainfall through to the Christmas holiday period, and December temperatures are very likely to remain above average for all of New Zealand and the summer season as a whole.”

Particular hotspots are found across Hawke’s Bay, in parts of southern Manawatu-Whanganui, northern Waikato and Wellington-Wairarapa; hotspots are developing across much of the South Island with the exception of parts of Central Otago due to last week’s thunderstorms.

Industry groups, including DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, have information to manage dry conditions. Farmers and growers can also call their local Rural Support Trust for a chat or to get pointed in the right direction on 0800 787 254.

ends

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