West Coast RST alert for farmers on the summer dry

As published in West Coast Messenger

Published on Monday, December 18, 2017

Hot on the heels of a very wet winter and spring, hot dry temperatures have turned our pastures from swamp to concrete in just a few weeks.

The West Coast Rural Support Trust met last week with MPI, Civil Defence Emergency Management and representatives from Federated Farmers, bankers and other rural professionals to discuss what the summer may hold.
NIWA says that the West Coast is likely to get higher temperatures and lower rainfall than normal.
While we on the Coast know there’s no crystal ball, it’s timely to plan for the worst, while also hoping for the best. Here are some tips from farmers who have managed their way through past dry spells:
  • Dry spells are a part of farming life, but prolonged drought, after a long wet period, affecting more than one growing season causes extra challenges.
  • If your income is seriously affected, you can check for assistance from normal channels like Work and Income.
  • Dairy NZ and Beef & Lamb NZ have good technical advice on their webpages.
 
Actions to take early in drought conditions;
  • Make a plan and set dates to take your decisions early, e.g. set trigger points for Once a Day Milking, cull early.
  • Keep an eye on climate predictions and soil moisture levels, especially on your own farm. (NIWA is useful).
  • Talk to your bank, accountants and other advisors, seek their advice, and ask for help if you need it.
  • Do a feed budget.
  • Look after your animals and regularly check their condition.
The West Coast Rural Support Trust is always here to help! Do you need to get pointed in the right direction for advice or information? Concerned about a friend, a neighbour, a worker…. or just need a private chat? Our services are free & confidential. Call us on 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) or visit www.rural-support.org.nz.
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Author: Terri Anderson

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