Another El Niño likely to hit New Zealand this summer - NIWA

For the last few months, Hawarden sheep farmer Iain Wright has been dodging puddles on his North Canterbury sheep farm.

While there is plenty of grass to go around, that could change due to a weather pattern known as an El Niño.

Mr Wright was hit by the weather pattern in 2015 and 2016, and says it's a concern that he might be hit by it again. 

"It is concerning that it might come again, but hopefully it's not as bad - and we've got lessons we learnt from last time," he explained.

NIWA are now warning there could be another one this summer, although not as strong. NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says there is a 55 percent chance that it's en route for New Zealand again.

An El Niño can bring more westerly winds in summer, bringing rain in the west and dry conditions in the east.

In the last one, paddocks were turned into dust bowls bringing the East Coast of the country into drought.

The saving grace is that Canterbury has had a very wet autumn and winter, so there's plenty of moisture in the sub-soil, and that will really help if a dry spell does come.

Mr Wright is already beginning planning for the drier than normal weather pattern for his stock and paddock.

"It might mean this spring that we end up locking another paddock up for balage or silage, or something like that - just so we have that buffer," he says.

Farmers are heeding the warning and preparing for another likely round of El Niño.