No reprieve in sight from sun
Dry conditions are starting to affect South Canterbury's farming sector, and there will be no reprieve in the short term, MetService says.
While some drizzle is expected over the weekend, it will be nothing significant, forecaster Richard Finnie says. "There may be drizzle on Saturday and some morning drops on Sunday but nothing significant. This is not going to make any difference to dry conditions; nothing that will produce a run off, it's pretty insignificant."
The Government officially declared a state of drought in Northland on Wednesday and big dairy producing region Waikato is also extremely dry, along with Hawke's Bay.
Federated Farmers vice-president Dr William Rolleston says South Canterbury is also drying out. "No question about it; our growth rates have really slowed down.
"People are spreading their rotations out and supplementary feeding earlier than usual."
He says the region is not in trouble, but it is time to think about the options in terms of stock.
"Farmers need to sit down with their advisers and do their feed budgets again.
"The worst enemy in a drought is not having things in place or a plan prepared."
Fairlie sheep and beef farmer David Williams says conditions are starting to dry off. "It must be creeping closer when you hear Mid Canterbury is getting irrigation restrictions.
"I'd imagine some of the dry land dairy farmers are starting to get a bit concerned."
Meanwhile, Timaru still has a ban on watering lawns, watering has been restricted in Waimate, and Twizel has alternate day hosing restrictions.
Timaru district services manager Ashley Harper says Timaru's town supply is keeping up with demand but it will be reviewed this month if dry conditions continue.
He asked people to observe water restrictions.
In Waimate, two urban water pumps have failed within a month and will cost $20,000 to replace.
Waimate water and waste manager Dan Mitchell says the pumps were due to be replaced, although there has been a marked increase in demand for water during the day.
"The pumps are working longer hours to keep up with demand; excessive water use at night is going to affect reservoir levels."
Mayor John Coles says continuing dry weather is causing concern and asked residents for their support in following conservation measures, with watering between 6am and 8am, and 7pm to 9pm.
Mackenzie District Council asset manager Nick Froude says conditions are very dry.
"We have an allowable take from our bores; that take is based on demand."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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