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Pressure Builds as Easter Rains Disappoint

03 April 2013

NEW ZEALAND – Fodder shortages, low milk yields and scorched pastures are set to plague New Zealand’s livestock farmers further.

This is the message of the NIWA latest seasonal outlook which stated that key areas were missed by the Easter rains.

Farm costs are mounting, says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson, who attributed huge losses to falling production, extra feed and regressing.

According to Federated Farmers of New Zealand, one Waikato producer has already spent $125,000 on battling the drought.

“I can speak for many farmers in hoping that NIWA’s latest seasonal outlook comes to pass. NIWA predicts this ‘Indian summer’ will roll on a little while longer so if we can get that outcome along with normal rainfall then something could be salvaged before winter,” says Mrs Milne.

“It won’t be production but some decent rain combined with warm settled weather could help us to repair pasture and to get winter feed crops growing.”

Key western areas have huge soil-moisture deficits, Buller and Grey on the South island only got 20mm of rain and in some pockets they received nothing, adds Mrs Milne.

Rain in Canterbury only partially wet the concrete, according to Chris Allen, Mid-Canterbury Provincial President.

Reports from South Canterbury reached 1.5mm but this area is not in drought thanks to helpful winds, sea frets, heavy rain two weeks ago and the Opuha Water Storage Scheme.

Federated Farmers have said that even when the drought does break, the effects will be felt for months and even seasons after on many livestock farms.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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