16 Dec 2010

Farmers struggle after years of drought

9:58 am on 16 December 2010

After years of battling major droughts and other weather-related events, some farmers are questioning why they're in the business.

Drought conditions have been officially declared in the Waikato region and the Ruapehu district, joining Northland and North Auckland as medium-level drought zones.

Sheep and beef farmer John Glen, says the dry conditions this season at his property near Raglan are especially difficult because there has already been four years of drought.

He says farming is hard enough in a good season and some start to wonder why they're still on the land.

Mr Glen says he's already had to destock his farm this season because of a lack of pasture growth.

Roger Johnstone, who also has a sheep and beef farm near Raglan, says the run of dry years are starting to take a toll on him too.

He says the farm produced 1100 cattle for slaughter in 2006-2007 but this year will have 800, while fixed costs remain.

Mr Johnstone says farmers hope that rain has been forecast for Waikato this weekend eventuates.