17 Mar 2015

Storm positive for some farmers

2:58 pm on 17 March 2015

The passing cyclone has had a positive outcome for farmers, as it has relieved growing anxiety about the lack of rainfall in eastern parts of the North Island.

Gisborne's port as the rain starts to set in.

Gisborne's port as the rain starts to set in. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Last week, Hawke's Bay Regional Council warned that the region might have to seek another state of drought declaration if it didn't get enough rain to restore soil moisture and river levels soon.

Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Will Foley said the whole region had good rain from the passing storm.

"It's definitely relieved the situation. We had about 45 mils of rain over the last 48 hours in Central Hawke's Bay, with more out to the coast and the further north you go. And it's been good soaking, steady rain.

"There's been no real torrential downpours so it's pretty much all soaked in, so I would say in a week, with a bit of sunshine after this, most farmers will be in a pretty good state again," he said.

The rain had also brought relief to farmers further south in Wairarapa, where a localised state of drought was recently declared.

Wairarapa farmers president Jamie Falloon said they would need more.

"We had useful rain, we've had 35 mils here at Biddeford and most areas of the Wairrarapa have had some. It's not a drought breaker, but with the rain we had last week and if we get some more follow ups, it's going to put people in a better position than they were without any rain, that's for sure.

And hopefully this is a change in the weather pattern and we'll get into a normal autumn and be able to farm our way out of the challenging dry situation that we've had."

He says there's feed available, but supplies are tight.

"Lots of sheep farmers are feeding grain and baylage to stock, and dairy farmers are using a lot of palm kernel and their baylage stocks. Really, we're going to need a pretty good autumn to make sure we can get through winter without too much trouble."

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