Signs good for lambing but farmers nervous awaiting scanning
It's early days yet but the signs are there for a good lambing in South Canterbury come spring.
Autumn rainfall and soil moisture levels were both above normal and there was plenty of feed around at mating-time with ewes in good condition.
"But cockies are always nervous coming up to scanning. You assume you have done the right thing but you just don't know," said Federated Farmers South Canterbury meat and fibre chairman Miles Anderson
He said he had scanned an early mob of ewes, but not his main line.
"The early mob of mine is as early as you would want to lamb - that's why it's only a small number. They will lamb early August. A few on the coast might be lambing late July," said the Southburn sheep and beef farmer.
"Theoretically the coastal areas should [scan] better than last year."
The scanning was only just started in South Canterbury, he said. The bulk of scanning would be done during the last week of this month through to the third week of July.
"Further inland they won't scan until later. Some were concerned the weather was cool and damp during the lead up to the rams going out, which wasn't so good. It's hard to know until the ewes are put through the scanner, but it has to be better than the last two years, " said Anderson.
"There is probably going to be more hoggets going to the ram because of the amount of feed around at the time."
Anderson said it was important the ewes were on a "rising plane" at mating and improving in condition on a daily basis for the two weeks leading up to mating. This produced a "flushing effect," whereby the ewes produced a higher number of eggs resulting in more multiple conceptions.
"I'd say all the stock around the country weren't short on feed through the summer so are in reasonable nick.
"The bulk of Canterbury doesn't want any more rain. We have tonnes of moisture in the soil and any more rain will just be wasted. We are in a very good position compared to the last two or three winters. We are just hoping when spring arrives it comes nice and early and we get a good one because the last few have been below average growth."
The NIWA weather situation for South Canterbury from June through to August is looking favourable.
Temperatures are forecast to be average or above average with high-pressure systems persisting over the whole country. These will bring extended periods of dry and settled weather.
Rainfall levels are expected to be normal or below normal in the east of the South Island with soil moisture levels normal or above normal.
The atmospheric circulation around New Zealand is forecast to favour more high-pressure flows than normal bringing extended periods of settled weather.
A transition toward El Nino conditions over the next three month period is more likely than not.