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Farmers urged to plan for ongoing dry conditions

Farmers urged to plan for ongoing dry conditions

The rain in the last few days is only breathing space

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Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton is urging farmers to ensure they have contingency plans in place for potential drought conditions in the New Year.

"2007 is just about over and generally dry conditions look set to continue into the New Year. It is true that the rain of the last few days over much of the country has given farmers a breathing space, but much more rain is needed over January to fully alleviate the situation." Jim Anderton said. "These conditions have the potential to develop into a serious drought in many regions."

"While most primary producers are generally making good decisions, they will need to be proactive and plan for possible drought conditions. For example, forward planning and timely decision making around stock levels and feed supply will reduce the risk of animal welfare issues and help farmers to cope with drought."

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is closely monitoring the situation. "I encourage farmers to make use of the range of resources, expertise and networks available to help with their planning," Jim Anderton said.

"Information on drought mitigation is available from the MAF and Meat and Wool New Zealand websites. There are also Rural Support Trusts that offer help and support in nearly all regions of New Zealand - just get in touch with your local Rural Support Trust Coordinator."

For more information, go to http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/assistance/

Summary of current conditions Otago and North Canterbury, including Banks Peninsula and the McKenzie Basin, and the East Coast of the North Island, including Central Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and the Wairarapa, are experiencing very dry conditions.

Nelson and Marlborough had less than a quarter of the normal rainfall in November, and many other South Island and most eastern North Island regions have had less than half their normal rainfall. Also below normal are Taranaki, Wellington and coastal areas of South Canterbury, Otago, and Southland.

The dry conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of a cool spring and windy and sunnier conditions in many parts of the country. The month was one of the sunniest Novembers on record in Golden Bay, Nelson, Marlborough, Taranaki and inland areas of Canterbury.

ENDS

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