Waikato farmer morale rising with new pasture growth

Two days of scattered rain over the past two weeks has been enough to encourage new pasture growth in Waikato, helping to raise morale amongst the region's farmers.

There's been growing concern about how farmers in the region will cope, after on-going dry weather.

The Waikato Primary Industry Adverse Event Cluster core group was formed to collectively review conditions and how farmers are coping.

Neil Bateup, group spokesperson and Rural Support Trust chairman, said the while the amount of rain that fell on farms on Monday varied greatly across the region, it was very welcome.

"Combined with rain from a couple of weeks ago, it's been enough to get things going, with paddocks greening up already," he said.

However he said for some dairy farmers, the rain and pasture growth has come a little too late - and they've already started to dry off herds.

Neil Bateup said farmers should keep monitoring their positions and make decisions as they need to.
Neil Bateup said farmers should keep monitoring their positions and make decisions as they need to. Photo credit: Rural Support Trust

"We have also heard reports that some farmers have started eating into their winter reserves, so there could be challenges come spring time," Bateup said.

He said weather patterns are looking promising.

"Forecasters are predicting that autumn in the top half of the North Island is going to be warm, which could bode well for pasture growth. And by the beginning of May, we should see a return of the usual rain-making cycles."

He said with farmer spirits having lifted markedly across the region, the group has decided to downscale its meeting frequency to every month.

"We'll be keeping an eye on the conditions, and encourage farmers to keep monitoring their positions and make decisions as they need to."

The core group includes representatives of Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Rural Women New Zealand and Beef & Lamb.

Newshub.

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