Weather: New Zealand's drought set to be broken as March spells increased rain

After weeks of drought New Zealand's struggling farmers may get some respite, the country's dry spell set to be broken with the promise of rain on the horizon.

After months of being linked like a "a chain-link fence", the high pressure systems associated with summer's light winds and clear skies are beginning to break, WeatherWatch head forecaster Philip Duncan says.

"Rain-makers" will form around the separating highs in March, says Duncan, signalling the prospect of welcome downpours.

The next bubble of dry, high pressure in New Zealand is also expected to be surrounded by rain-makers.

"That means we have cyclones in the tropics, we have rain-makers down the eastern side of Australia and rain-makers in the Southern Ocean... this bodes well for change even if nothing immediate," he explains.

"We're already seeing an increase in afternoon showers and more are coming this week. We see more easterlies [associated with rain and storms], humidity and showers in March in northern New Zealand in particular."

The showers forecasted for northern New Zealand will hopefully bring respite to Northland's desperate farmers.

Some have been culling stock suffering in the conditions, with water and feed reserves running low. Northland Federated Farmers' Louise Giltrap told Rural Today that farmers are rapidly using up surplus feed for stock.

This breaking of high pressure is also responsible for Australia's much-needed rain, effectively putting an end to the country's devastating bushfire season. 

While it may be a slow process, the breaking high pressure systems indicate a gradual drift away from the dry spell that has Kiwis begging for rain. 

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor recently classified the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in Government support.

"This is recognition that the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on our farmers and growers and additional support is needed," O'Connor said.

The lack of rain has also been affecting farmers in other parts of the country including Auckland, Waikato and parts of Canterbury.

Auckland's longest dry spell on record was finally broken last weekend, with Saturday's rainfall marking the first time there's been more than 1mm of rain in 47 days.