Farmers worried as South Island drought area extended

Very dry conditions at the top of the South Island have seen authorities extend the official drought area.

The Minister for Primary Industries has announced that the adverse event drought classification that much of the top of the South Island now sits under will be extended to include Buller.

Rural Support Trust West Coast chairperson Dianne Milne said conditions had been very dry for Karamea, Inangahua and Maruia, as well as for the top of the Grey Valley and around Reefton. 

"While many of these areas have now had some rain, managing pasture cover through winter will be a challenge," she said.

"There has been some good rain, but we are dealing with drought damage as well, so much more rain will be needed for repair as we go into winter," said Milne.

She said the Trust and the Ministry are working with primary industry groups and the local council to support affected farmers, and to share information and ideas to help people get through this adverse event.

A drought committee has also been formed and is meeting weekly.