3 Feb 2015

Farmers urged to seek advice

4:50 pm on 3 February 2015

Farmers who are less experienced with droughts are being urged to seek advice if they need it, as feed in the Waikato and South Auckland regions begins to dry up.

Waikato Rural Support Trust chairman Neil Bateup said while it was becoming increasingly dry, it was unclear whether the conditions would become drought-like.

He said the recent rain had eased some concern but current soil moisture levels were even lower than during last year's long dry spell.

A lower dairy payout was aggravating the financial impact on farmers as dry conditions began to bite into pasture quality and milk production.

Mr Bateup said there was plenty of supplementary feed after the region's good spring and farmers seemed to be managing but there were increasing signs of stress amongst new farmers.

"I think we've got a particular set of circumstances this year where milk returns are very low and so there'll be young farmers who haven't perhaps experienced the lows of payout and the lows of pasture production at the same time.

"And some of the sharemilkers who have started this year, or farm owners who are in their first year of farming will be particularly hard up, so it's important if they are concerned they seek advice."

Mr Bateup said there were irrigation restrictions in the Waihou-Piako catchment.

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