18 Jan 2016

Rain helps drought-hit North Canterbury

1:52 pm on 18 January 2016

Drizzly rain is providing relief to drought-stricken North Canterbury land, while a severe weather warning is in place for heavy rain in Marlborough.

Parts of Otago and all of the Canterbury and Marlborough regions have been in a state of drought since February last year.

There has been no heavy rain in the area since June of last year.

The Canterbury region has been in a state of drought since February last year. Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps

MetService said between 100 to 150mm was expected to fall in the Nelson region over the next 15 hours, and in the first 10 days of January the Marlborough District received as much rain as it did in November and December combined.

Further south in North Canterbury, around 8mm of rain had fallen this morning, an added bonus to recent rain which was aiding the growth of winter crops.

Vincent Daly runs a 160ha cropping farm in Cheviot and said the rain was not a drought breaker but every drop did count.

"Earlier on it was quite steady... when I first got up. We've had about eight millimetres of rain in this lot of rain which is quite good and it's meant to get heavier this afternoon.

"I looked at some paddocks and we put some oats in yesterday, and you could scratch the ground and you get dry ground again underneath but hopefully this rain, if we get a couple of inches it will make a difference," he said.

Over the new year period 38mls of rain fell, which all soaked in, he said.

"You can see all the green feed - kale crops and fodder beat crops around the district... have all shot away."

The soil moisture level is now at 24 percent, he said.

He said seed levels in the region were looking good, but many farmers had heavily de-stocked meaning there were less mouths to feed.