Rain just what the farmers ordered

Rain has been welcomed by farmers after a record dry July took its toll on pasture growth.

Hill country Pohangina farmer Tony Gray said it had been warm rain, after several weeks of cold weather.

"It was extremely useful for us. We got 41 millimetres. The combination of dry, frosts and porina [an insect larva that eats pasture roots] meant growth had been limited."

Gray said it had previously been a mild winter, but there were still several months of winter and spring to come.

"It depends what Mother Nature throws at us. Last year, we had 250ml of rain in September."

Gray wasn't lambing yet and was not due to start until September 10.

Stantiall and partners Feilding-based farm adviser Gary Massicks said most farmers in the region who were lambing already were on the flatter country around Feilding.

He said the flat heavy land around Palmerston North had been in reasonable shape when it came to pasture: "But the further north you went, the more farmers needed rain."

Massicks said between 35mm and 45mm of rain fell during the past week, with Marton copping the most.

"It was a great rain - who would have thought we'd be wanting rain to fall in the first week of August, but we did."

He said July was cloudy, cold and dry.

Rangiotu dairy farmer Robert Ervine said that the rain had boosted growth but on most dairy farms it had not been urgently needed.

"The river stayed in its banks, which is great for us.

" The dry conditions were limiting [pasture] growth on the lighter country farms.

"Growth rates have jumped, so I am happy."

Manawatu Standard