Weather helps farmers recover

PIERS FULLER
Last updated 09:47 29/01/2014
Jamie Falloon
BOUCING BACK: Jamie Falloon is happy with the summer weather.

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A summer that feels like spring may not be good news for holiday-makers but it is putting a smile on farmers' faces.

What a difference a year can make; farming conditions in Wairarapa over the past six months have proved ideal for growing grass and fattening stock after a nightmare spring and summer the previous year.

Federated Farmers Wairarapa branch president Jamie Falloon says conditions have aligned nicely to give the agricultural industry a boost which is going a long way to helping farmers bounce back.

Dairy prices are remaining strong and though there may be some head winds on the horizon, the medium-term prospects remain positive.

There has been a lot less irrigation up until this point in the season though farmers have been investing in feed for the winter and now hay sheds are full, which is a much better option than having to buy hay in the middle of the colder months.

Getting rainfall at the right time has meant hill country sheep and beef farmers have been able to fatten lambs and cattle as well as grow plenty of hay.

"It's giving sheep farmers a lot more options in the hill country with regard to finishing lambs and getting weight on stock, and helping with recovery from the drought last year," Mr Falloon says. "For the dairy farmers it's really just been a continuation of good strong growing conditions and great production, and much lower cost from what they had in the past."

Though lamb prices are not great, there should still be some profit in the industry if farmers can keep their costs down and beef returns are looking good.

With stock overall generally in better condition it means less spent on animal health.

The rain has not reached everywhere in heavy doses with some of the valley flats getting pretty dry.

The rain in autumn and mild winter last year was a lifesaver for many hill country farmers after the poor spring in 2012 and subsequent dry summer.

Almost a year on and most farmers have recovered well.

"We couldn't have asked for a better run, considering where we've come from," Mr Falloon says.

All these factors are good news for the local economy which will experience a boost from agriculture's good fortune.

Contractors have been kept busy making hay and cropping which is positive given their lean time last year.

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- Wairarapa News

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