Farmers prepared for El Niño - MPI

  • 16/12/2015
Farmers prepared for El Niño - MPI

Farmers are preparing for what is expected to be one of the strongest El Niño summers on record, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

The weather pattern typically brings more rain to the west of the country and less to the east.

"The planning that farmers and growers have carried out in anticipation of this has been very worthwhile," Mr Guy said.

"Many have been making decisions with trigger points for certain actions or events, such as starting to destock or planning alternative feed sources."

Mr Guy says the latest advice from NIWA is that El Niño will definitely continue over the next three months and is likely to intensify and peak over summer.

"Many farmers have lived through the impact of El Niño previously and have a good idea of what to expect," he said.

"They know that even as it peaks this summer, the knock-on effects such as availability of winter feed also have to be considered now."

Mr Guy says North Canterbury farmers are sending stock to western North Island districts for grazing.

Finance Minister Bill English says New Zealand's economy can handle the effects of El Niño whether it is mild or severe.

"It'll have its most direct impact on farmers. They're already under a bit of pressure particularly in the dairy industry, so reasonably tough for them, but I think we've all adapted to the fact they're going to be earning less," he told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

He believes the skill levels and the ability of farmers to manage all the variables in the weather, grass and milk production and animal production.

"They're in reasonable shape. It won't make it easier for them, but they know what to do."

3 News / NZN