26 Feb 2015

Farmers making cuts to survive drought

2:21 pm on 26 February 2015

A South Canterbury farmer who's just lost access to irrigation water faces the prospect now of having to sell off more stock to survive the drought.

Nicky Hyslop, who runs a sheep, beef and cropping farm west of Timaru, is one of 250 farmers who now have no access to irrigation water, with the almost dry Opuha dam turning off the tap for farm supply yesterday.

Because of a 50 percent water restriction since Christmas, they had already cut back stock numbers by 15 to 20 percent and would have to make further cuts if there was no rain soon to get pasture going again, she said.

Winter feed crops were also at risk.

"Some of those crops are really reliant on getting good rain in the autumn to really set them up, so that can take stock through the winter. In some cases on properties like ours, our winter feed crops are looking okay, but they will still need more moisture, so that's of significant concern also.

"And the other concern: we have some crop on our property, we're just harvesting that now. We really need moisture to establish either pasture or crop behind that, and that's also really important."

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