5 Dec 2017

Some Hawke's Bay farmers well grassed despite dry

7:46 pm on 5 December 2017

Despite water shortages in Hawke's Bay, some farmers have plenty of grass growth and are feeling optimistic heading into the summer.

The Napier City Council yesterday warned the city might run out of water after reservoir levels suddenly dropped in the hot conditions, although levels have since increased again.

Nick Dawson, who milks about 400 cows in Patoka, west of Napier, said he had been fortunate to get some rain.

"We're probably an exception to the rule. We've had a fantastic spring. We've got green grass and we've had reliable rainfall and wonderful thunderstorms," he said.

"It's an absolute contrast to last summer. We had a hell of a dry summer, but it rained in March and we were saved, and we had a fantastic autumn and a good winter and spring, so long may it last."

Mr Dawson said he was cautious though, given the season was expected to get a lot drier.

"We've put a lot of crops in and the crops are hopefully going to take us through summer.

"I'm kind of hopeful that we'll get tropical cyclones being on the East Coast, and we might have a bigger one, I'm always optimistic.

"We've spent a lot of money on crops and contracting feed to get us through, but when it gets really dry there's nothing that can really prepare you, so we'd be looking at culling early."

Commodity prices fall again

Meanwhile, commodity prices are continuing to fall because of weakness in the dairy sector.

The ANZ Bank's latest commodity price index fell 0.9 percent last month, after a small drop the month before.

Dairy prices led the fall, as expanding global milk production puts pressure on prices.

Meat prices held up better than expected, while horticulture prices also rose.

Forestry prices made gains, but aluminium prices declined.

A lower New Zealand dollar is helping to boost local export returns.

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