Northland drought prompts call for planning

Press Release – Northland Rural Support Trust

Northland farmers and horticulturists are being urged to continue to manage the impact of the regions drought conditions despite welcome overnight rain in some areas.Northland drought prompts call for planning

Thursday 09 February, 2017

Northland farmers and horticulturists are being urged to continue to manage the impact of the region’s drought conditions despite welcome overnight rain in some areas.

Following its third meeting yesterday, the multi-agency Northland Adverse Events Team says Northlanders should be aware of the actual and potential impacts of the ongoing dry weather and plan accordingly – if they haven’t already.

Ironically parts of Northland overnight received between one and about 40 mm within hours of the meeting.

“However, we’re at the stage where one lot of rain is simply not going to solve the problem,” Northland Adverse Events Team spokesperson Julie Jonkers (subs correct: Jonkers) says.

“While we’re getting some rain now, it’s unlikely to be enough to make a big difference and noticeably turn pasture growth around without significant follow up rain.”

Ms Jonkers says the drought’s reach is affecting all areas of Northland, to varying degrees.

While most Northland farmers and horticulturists had been through droughts before and would be able to draw on those experiences, it was important to have both short and long term plans in place and review them regularly.

“It’s far better to be organised and also to seek help now if it’s needed, rather than leaving it until things are well out of hand.”

“Farmers and horticulturists should have short and long term drought plans.”

For farmers these included sorting out ongoing feed needs, frequently checking stock water supplies, monitoring stock condition especially for younger animals and planning what to do when rain finally arrives.

For horticulturists these included monitoring crop health, being aware of current and future water requirements and whether these can be met as well as being aware of possible long term drought implications for their crops.

The Northland Adverse Events Team works under the umbrella of the Northland Rural Support Trust.

The Ministry of Primary Industries was last week (Friday 3 February) officially declared a medium level drought in Northland with banks now looking at special drought packages for farmers.

A series of free barbeques for drought hit Northland farmers is being organised by the Northland Rural Support Trust and supporting rural businesses.

“We want people to be able to get off farm, catch up with others and have a break from thinking about the drought”

The 10 drought barbeques are as follows:

Monday 20 February: Kaeo Rugby Club and Waiotira Golf Club

Tuesday 21 February: Okaihau Hall and Bream Bay Celtic Hall (Waipu)

Wednesday 22 February: Marua Hall and Ararua Hall

Monday 27 February: Mamaranui Bowling Club and Tapora Hall

Tuesday 28 February: Tomarata Rugby Club and Te Kopuru’s Southern Rugby Football Club rooms.

Meanwhile Ms Jonkers says any farmers with surplus stock feed are being urged to contact the Northland Adverse Events Team to help those facing feed shortages can be assisted.

The committee was also preparing to source stock feed from outside the region if the situation worsened.

Information on farming in drought can now be found on websites such as www.beeflambnz.com or www.rural-support.org.nz/Regions/North-Island/Northland

ENDS

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