Good news for drought-hit farmers as 'decent' rain forecast for upper North Island

Weather forecasters have good news for North Island farmers desperate for rain to ease parched paddocks.

Northland has been among areas worst hit by drought conditions, with farmers now running short of feed for winter.

Northland Federated Farmers president John Blackwell told Newshub this week farmers were now 'majorly concerned' by the lack of rain.

"Our production has been right down since the beginning of this year with the lack of rain and we have stock that would have gone to the works by now which aren't.

"So we are heading into winter without much grass and feed in front of us and supplementary feed. Our silage has been fed out that we would use in the winter," Blackwell said.

But good news for farmers, MetService meteorologist Andy Best is forecasting some 'decent' rain for many parts of the North Island, including in Northland for the weekend.

"On Saturday, areas north of about Lake Taupo see rain in the morning then isolated showers, while the rest of the island sees fine spells and isolated showers.

"However, gale northwesterlies are expected in exposed parts of Wellington and Wairarapa. Once again western areas of the South Island can expect rain with heavy falls possible, but only scattered falls for the ranges," said Best.

He said more rain or showers were expected in the west and north of the North Island on Sunday, and would continue into the following week.

"As we look to Monday, a trough linked to an area of low pressure brings more rain or showers to the upper half of the North Island, with the rain even affecting Gisborne and Hawkes Bay in the morning and just scattered falls in the Tararua District."

A new NIWA 'hotspot' report shows the driest soils across the North Island, when compared to normal for this time of the year, are located across much of the upper North Island and Central Hawke’s Bay. 

Meanwhile, the wettest soils for this time of the year are located in southern Wairarapa.