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Lack of rain hurting farmers

Published: 12:14PM Wednesday February 06, 2013 Source: ONE News

The continuing big dry is causing increasing concern to farmers around the country.

Despite some recent rain, rainfall is still way below normal and farmers in the Far North are discussing strategies including cutting back on milking and getting rid of stock

Northland farms are not officially in drought yet and the recent rain was welcome, but it will take a lot more to make a difference.

January had just 10% of normal rainfall for the month.

"In a good summer when you've got good rainfall, typically cows are going into nice lush grass...lower quality is potentially lower milk production," Taffy Manjala from Dairy New Zealand said.

Northland farmer Peter Flood said farmers are very concerned and talking about approaching the banks.

"The payout is down this year and people are on tight budgets," said Flood.

"I think people get a bit despondent when we get into dry conditions and we have to spend money in order to get through."

Farmers need to be increasingly adaptable and many are growing crops like maize to help animals endure dry spells.

Northland farmer Lynn Candy saidother years have compounded the effect on the cows.

"But we're not desperate yet, it's dry, not drought," she said.