Dry summer support

Dry summer support

Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The NIWA drought index measures dry conditions across the country. Their hotspot watch helps identify areas that are getting dry each week.

Like all adverse events, a drought is classified as either localised, medium-scale or large-scale.

What farmers need to do now

Don’t hold out for rain as a reason to delay any decisions you need to make. Make plans and decisions in light of current conditions and warm temperatures driving high evapotranspiration. It will take significant rainfall to slow down or reverse the dry conditions. 

That it is so dry so early in the season may further limit your options, or create uncertainty, such as decisions on which animals to sell or cull.

In many locations stock feed in the form of hay and silage is lower than normal due to the wet winter and spring. You need to understand your local situation and factor these delays in your planning.

Tips from farmers who have managed their way through past dry spells:

  •  Review the technical information from your industry bodies on managing in dry weather.
  • Do a feed budget.
  • Make a plan and set trigger points to make decisions or take action: Dates, stock condition, feed availability; Once a day milking, drying off, culling early.  Ensure relevant contract partners agree with the plan. When those points or times hit, enact your plan.
  • Keep an eye on climate predictions and soil moisture levels, especially on your own farm as it can vary from your neighbours’. (NIWA is useful).
  • Use water efficiently and plan for water restrictions. Check irrigation consents for any triggers that will require you to make changes to usage.
  • Ensure bores are well maintained and make contingency plans in case supply fails.
  • Look after your animals and regularly check their condition.
  • Make decisions for slaughter well in advance and book space in time (since killing space may be in high demand in your area)
  • Be vigilant on very hot days. Animals cannot be left for much time with no shade or access to water.
  • Be aware of increased risk of fire and take precautions
  • Talk to your bank, accountants and other advisors, seek their advice, and ask for help if you need it.        
  • Your Rural Support Trust is here to help. If you need to get pointed in the right direction for advice or information, are concerned about a friend, a neighbour, a worker…. or just need a private chat, their services are free & confidential. Call 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) or visit www.rural-support.org.nz.

3. MPI, DairyNZ and B+L NZ also have good information for getting through droughts and dry weather.

This document will give you some tips and tricks for mitigating the dry hot summer conditions.

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News & Alerts

Preparing for Gita

Monday, February 19, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

Forecasting weather is a tricky one. Luckily we have Chris Brandelino from NIWA updating New Zealand on what to expect as of this morning:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101550169/preparing-for-cyclone-gita 

So now's the time to prepare:

 

Before a flood or storm

* Find out from your local council, neighbours, etc, if your property is at risk from flooding and plan accordingly

* Check your insurance cover details

* Fill vehicles’ tanks

* Have a smartphone you can charge in the car

* Store bailage/hay in areas not prone to flooding

* Ensure trees posing a hazard are trimmed (over houses, sheds, boundary fences)

* Store anything that is likely to be blown around, or tie down bigger items like trampolines

* Have a plan and trigger points to make decisions without waiting for official advice.

* Move animals, equipment and feed to higher ground.

* If you have a generator, make sure it’s accessible and ready to go.

*Clear drains and gutters

*Clear debris from waterways

* Have a household emergency kit including food, water, clothing, first aid, torch, cash, and a battery-powered radio

 

During a flood or storm

* The safety of you, your family, and your workers comes first.

* Listen to your local radio stations for official updates.

* Ensure stock have safety, shelter and water, and can't wander. Are electric fences working?

* Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to help prevent damage.

* Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.

* Treat all lines as live. Check power and phones and report outages.

* Check dogs, poultry and pets.

* Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?

* Check buildings at risk, secure feed stacks.

* Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

 

Useful sites and numbers:

* Civil Defence website https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/

* Your local Rural Support Trust to update your information or ask for help 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254)  www.rural-support.org.nz

* Your local council website and facebook page

*Animal welfare https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/animal-welfare/animals-in-emergencies/  

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When farmland is flooded by seawater

Storm surges and king tides

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

What happens to farmland which has been flooded by seawater?

  • The impact will depend on how long the crop or pasture is covered by seawater. If it’s only for a short time – up to 48 hours – and gets good rainfall, grasses should bounce back. 
  • Rain is needed to wash the salt away. It’s likely the saltwater was diluted by the rains during the storm which measured up to 70mm.
  • The last similar event in the areas was 15 July 1995. This was during winter, there was plenty of rain to wash out, and pasture recovered well over a three month period.

 

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Coastal Hazards Map

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Author: Julie Jonker
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Categories: Northland

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Drought classification extends further to Southland and Otago

HON DAMIEN O’CONNOR

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/drought-classification-extends-further-southland-and-otago

 

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Categories: National, Otago, Southland

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