24 Apr 2009

Drought declared in Hawke's Bay

9:31 pm on 24 April 2009

Hawke's Bay officials have declared the region is in drought, with the situation described as grim for many farmers.

A drought committee meeting on Thursday heard there is no cattle feed in many parts of the region, half the paddocks on some farms do not have enough stock water and plagues of crickets have been eating the grass east of Waipukurua.

Hastings mayor, Lawrence Yule, who chaired the meeting, says for many farmers this is the third drought in three years and many are suffering stress.

Rural Support Trust Co-ordinator in the region Hugh McPhail says morale is low among many farming families.

He hopes the declaration of a drought will result in free management advice for farmers, and Government funding to help the trust provide extra emotional and financial advice.

An urgent report will be submitted to the Minister of Agriculture for a decision on Government assistance.