Heavy rain gives Canterbury farmers a welcome reprieve from water shortages

Some Canterbury farmers are breathing a sigh of relief after this week's heavy rain has bolstered their resilience for a long, hot summer. 

David Clark is growing seeds for next year's food production and it's booming, with the plants bigger than he's ever grown before. But just recently, he was facing the impact of serious water shortages.

"A week or so ago we were trying to plow a paddock and the ground was so hard and so dry that the plow wouldn't go into the ground," he told Newshub.

"By Thursday we'd picked up rain and the paddock was actually too wet to drill so we went from one extreme to another."

In some parts of Canterbury 55mm of rain has fallen this week, turning dry brown paddocks into lush green fields and bringing joy to farmers including Chris Allen.

"We've been in this place for 28 years and the year we bought it, it was an absolute blinder of a season and locals said this is the only time in a lifetime you'll see one like this," Allen said.

"Well this is the second time in 28 years."

His cows are now ankle deep in healthy grass and his previously depleting pond is back up to a healthy level. 

"Mother Nature's delivered over Christmas [and] New Year and we're now thinking more about what we're going to be doing in a week or ten day's time."

This summer, La Niña conditions will bring hot, dry weather for Canterbury - but for now, these farmers are enjoying a welcome reprieve.