18 Mar 2013

Dry forces Whanganui incorporation to sell early

9:34 am on 18 March 2013

A Maori-run farming operation in Whanganui is being forced to sell some stock early because of the severe drought conditions hitting the region hard.

After nearly two months of very little rain, the dry spell is taking a toll on the Whanganui region, which on Friday the Government declared to be in a state of drought - along with the rest of the North Island.

Sheep and beef cattle make up 94% of the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation-run farms.

Chief executive Chris Scanlon says the challenge now is to reap what they can from selling off trade stock early and prepare for a possibly dry autumn.

He says the incorporation it will mean selling off the trade stock at lower weights and losing income, which the incorporation is reluctant to do.

Mr Scanlon says the other pressure Atihau-Whanganui farmers are under is sourcing grazing and supplementary feed for the autumn should the dry spell continue even on through the winter months.

But he says the focus is on protecting its capital stock by moving their trading stock earlier than they would normally do.