Farmers hope heavens will open

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 08:07 19/03/2014

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Manawatu farmers like the rain, but need much more to make a difference.

They say they need 50 millimetres to get back on track.

"The wind has really dried things out. It hasn't been pleasant to work in," said Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei dairy chairman James Stewart.

He said those hoping Cyclone Lusi would deliver much-needed moisture were disappointed as it brought wind and little rain to the region.

"And the wind was terrible. It was bleak. The wind has taken a lot of moisture out of paddocks."

Mr Stewart, who farms at Hiwinui, said some farmers had 20mm in their rain gauge, while others had a shower only.

Mr Stewart said many farmers in southern Manawatu and Horowhenua were dealing with drier conditions than they had last summer.

Niwa statistics showed Ohakune had no rain last month.

Mr Stewart said the dry had at least come a month later than last year, when the drought was widespread.

"We do expect a summer dry, and dairy farmers go into summer management.

"They are feeding out supplements and they have culled cows so they are only milking cows they are keeping."

He said that on the positive side, there had been a great spring and silage stacks and hay sheds were more full of supplementary feed than they were last year.

Mr Stewart said it had been a good season for milk production but it was the end of the season, with cows producing about half the milk they did during the milkflow peak of October.

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- Manawatu Standard

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