Drought classification extends further to Southland and Otago

HON DAMIEN O’CONNOR

Published on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor today announced that the medium-scale adverse event classification for the drought in parts of the country would be extended to the whole of Southland plus Otago’s Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts. 

The classification triggers additional funding of up to $130,000 for the local Rural Support Trusts and industry groups to coordinate recovery support. 

“We’ve been working with local farming groups, councils and NIWA to monitor how the drought has been progressing and the impact on the farming communities,” said Mr O’Connor. 

“Anticipated rain that could have provided respite just hasn’t fallen in the right areas to mitigate the effects of the early hot dry summer. 

“Farmers have been unable to grow sufficient feed for winter, and have been using stored feed and buying in supplements for stock, as well as selling off animals.  

“Some useful rain is predicted for this week, however the drought has already taken its toll on farms and will take time to recover from. While rain now would allow pasture to grow, this can take a month to translate into feed for animals, and many are now well behind in preparing for winter.  

“So the recovery assistance measures are as important as ever, even when we finally get decent rain.” 

The formal request for the classification was made by drought committees and rural communities yesterday in a letter to Mr O’Connor – in which they highlighted this was an extremely unusual event for Southland. 

“Organisations in the regions are gearing up to assist farmers with feed budgets, technical information and farm management, and stress management. The early start to a hot dry summer has now taken its toll on the groundwater and rivers in the south of the country, and farmers are working hard to look after their animals in a very challenging climate.” 

The Minister of Revenue has welcomed the activation of Inland Revenue’s income equalisation discretions for this drought, and Inland Revenue will also consider hardship situations. Farmers should contact their accountants in the first instance.  

The drought was originally classified as a medium-scale adverse event in the North Island across Taranaki, western parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington, and the Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast over the Christmas period. Significant rain has improved soil moisture in some of those areas, but recovery from the drought is an ongoing process.

 

More information

Your Rural Support Trust is here to help. Call 0800 787 254 or go to www.rural-support.org.nz

Federated Farmers' Feedline is open to members and non-members sourcing or offering feed: www.fedfarm.org.nz/FFPublic/Adverse_Events_Farmer_Support_and_Feedline.aspx 

Criteria for medium scale event classification

Like all adverse events, a drought is classified as either localised, medium-scale, or large-scale. MPI doesn’t declare droughts. Rather, they work with local stakeholders when there is a drought and determine how it should be classified, based on its impact on the rural sector.

MPI assesses each adverse event based on the:

  • options available for farmers to prepare for the event
  • magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of the physical impact)
  • capacity of the community to cope (economic and social impact)

Drought committees

Both Otago and Southland have formed drought committees and have been actively working with their communities, such as hosting information events with DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers, Environment Southland, Otago Regional Council and others, to give farmers the latest information around the drought and their options to get through it.

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Author: Terri Anderson

Categories: National, Otago, Southland

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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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