Erratic weather predicted to average out

TIM CRONSHAW
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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A mixed bag of weather is forecast this summer but it could even out to a normal season overall for Canterbury farmers.

Blue Skies Weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard said indications were pointing to neither a full-blown dry El Nino nor a cloudy La Nina and comparisons with previous neutral seasons suggested erratic weather within an overall average season.

"When we have a neutral season like we are having at the moment, with no El Nino or La Nina pattern scenario, in the past what we have tended to find is they are reasonably normal with climatic statistics and average rainfall. We find quite a bit of variation from one month to the next. Some months are dry and virtually the driest on record and some months are particularly wet."

Trewinnard said farmers could see the same unsettled patterns in spring recurring in summer.

The last occasion Canterbury experienced erratic weather patterns was in 2008.

Federated Farmers recommends farmers have contingency plans in case the mild El Nino intensifies, bringing a higher risk of drought.

While there is no indication of severe drought at this point, Niwa has predicted below-normal rainfall in the east coast of the North Island and top of the South Island.

Federated Farmers adverse events spokeswoman Katie Milne said some areas were experiencing drier weather than last year and suggested farmers had contingency plans in place "such as de-stocking and getting in supplementary feeds".

Trewinnard said that was great advice "because it's prudent to always assume the worst". More southwesterly windflows this summer could produce a drying effect in some areas.

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