Farmers on drought knife edge

Last updated 12:00 26/12/2012

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Farmers are desperate for rain.

While last week's rain was useful for some farmers with crops, it did not alleviate the dry conditions for most.

Rain was forecast last weekend, but little eventuated, and in many places there was none.

On Christmas Day the temperature hit 30 degrees Celsius.

A Feilding farmer, Gordon McKellar, said earlier he had 12 millimetres of rain at his farm in Lees Rd.

"A useful start for helping crops establish, but not enough to make a significant difference to the dry conditions."

He said the rain seemed patchy and 10 kilometres north of Hunterville there was only 3mm. It has been warm, sunny and windy - all conditions farmers are not keen to see, and though it is summer, and farmers expect dry conditions, it is drier than most would like.

Some farmers believe the region will suffer a drought. Farmers are selling lambs and cattle as pasture gets scarce.

Pohangina Valley farmer Mike Holdaway said: "We are still green and have a lot of clover around, but haven't had a decent rain since October, so we are right on a knife edge at the moment."

He was hopeful New Zealand would get some rain soon.

"But I fear the rain gods have turned their backs on us once again. Takes the fun out of summer, that's for sure."

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- Manawatu Standard

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