Frosty weather expected

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 12:00 29/05/2014

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Farmers say the cold snap will kill some pasture but it will also kill stock bugs that took a toll on sheep and cattle this summer.

Grass grub, internal parasites and facial eczema spores would be knocked by the frosts, and Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Richard Morrison said that was a good thing.

"And it's not wet under foot, which is a real benefit. Stock seem pretty happy."

He said it was dry in March, and autumn growth meant stock had to get used to fresh grass growth.

"We are often in the mai mai on [duck shooting] opening weekend in May, feeling the cold. But this year, we were in shorts and T-shirts. This is the first cold snap we've had."

He said even though June was almost upon us, there was still clover growth, so the earlier dry conditions had meant soil temperatures had stayed high.

He said beef cows and sheep were looking well. Ewes were in lamb, and beef cows were carrying calves.

"People that might have shorn sheep could have been caught out by the cold, but it was well forecast and we knew it was coming."

Farm adviser at Feilding-based Stantiall and Keeling, Gary Massicks, said the dry conditions helped all stock.

"Although we've had rain, it has been regular so it's not excessively wet. And pasture has been growing in the past few weeks."

Massicks said most farmers had plenty of supplement on hand.

"But the cold snap will have knocked the grass grub. It was bad in some areas, such as Kiwitea, so this will help get rid of it."

Grass grub caterpillars attacked pasture, causing it to brown and die off. And when it came to dairy cows, Massicks said they were in "a comfortable condition" but many were not as heavy as they should be.

Industry-good body DairyNZ has had a push the last few seasons, saying cows and heifers needed to be in good condition at calving.

MetService meteorologist Liz Walt said to expect more fine and frosty weather over the weekend.

"High pressure from the south for the long weekend, so expect temperatures of 12 to 14 degrees during the day. It'll be settled, but fine and cold."

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- Manawatu Standard

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