23 Jan 2012

Southland farmers thirsty after near-drought

6:49 am on 23 January 2012

Southland farmers are thirsty for more rain after a downpour last week provided some relief from extremely dry conditions.

Earlier this month Southland Regional Council held off on a decision to declare a drought in the province, as heavy rain fell after a rare six-week dry spell.

Many dairy farmers are milking once per day to ration their feed, while others sent stock to the works earlier than planned.

Sheep and beef farmer David Rose says only 6mm of rain fell on his farm in the first half of the month.

He's now had 74mm and says the pasture is beginning to respond to the soaking.

Mr Rose says it's an unusual experience for Southland farmers who don't get drought very often.

He says farmers are very relieved they have had the rain and that should ensure some grass growth.

The council says it will re-consider the drought scenario, which would trigger Government help, if the region dries up again.