Farmers pin hopes on some spring sun

17:00, Aug 20 2012

Taranaki farmers coping with the last two days of deluges are hoping the forecast sunshine emerges later this week.

Farmers had already had "a gutsful" of Taranaki's wet weather last week, so the downpours on Sunday and yesterday were most unwelcome, Taranaki Federated Farmers dairy chairman Derek Gibson said yesterday.

"The ground is absolutely saturated after last night."

He advised farmers to treat each day as it comes and to try to minimise pasture damage at the same time as ensuring their cows were fully fed.

"Make sure your cows are getting enough feed, and not wasting it."

However, feeding out in a dry area was tricky for farmers without feed pads, Mr Gibson said.

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Although rainfall totals were about average for a normal spring, the number of dry days experienced recently in Taranaki was small.

"There's been no period to dry out. We need some sunshine and a southerly wind."

Mr Gibson said the wet weather was now starting to affect farm production, which was dropping away from the good levels at the start of August.

Because of mild temperatures, grass growth was better than average.

"It's just trying to utilise it without damaging it, so the pastures stay good."

DairyNZ regional leader Katrina Knowles advised farmers to consult vets early about mastitis, lameness or metabolic concerns and to share their ideas and problems with neighbours and farm consultants.

Taranaki Daily News