5 Sep 2016

Lambs on the ground but no grass to feed them

2:20 pm on 5 September 2016

North Canterbury is still parched and, while there has been a good lambing season, there isn't enough feed, says a local farmer.

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A file photo shows sheep on dry pasture in Canterbury Photo: RNZ/ Patrick Phelps

The National Insitute of Water and Atmospheric Research has identified a 55 percent chance of La Niña conditions, which is likely to result in below-normal soil moisture and river flow levels.

The official drought period for the South Island East Coast was extended to two years in June, making it the longest the country has ever seen.

Cheviot farmer Vince Daly said it had been a tough few years, and this spring was looking no better.

"There's just absolutely no grass, the stock are just standing there waiting for it to grow - just standing on top of it.

"At the moment there wouldn't be any supplement feed being able to be made, people are having a pretty good lambing because we're getting great weather, but the grass just isn't growing because of the dry - it's unheard of."

Mr Daly said it felt like a 100-year drought and, heading into summer, there was no rain on the horizon.

"The only thing that could get us out of a hole now is a big northeast rain that came in unexpectedly somewhere through the Tasman and crossed the country, but either they've been going below us or above us, the lows just don't want to come through the centre of the country."