Managing through drought

Advice for rural people

Published on Friday, February 14, 2020

For all drought information refer to Northland Regional Council: 0800 002 004                 

https://www.nrc.govt.nz/environment/drought/

https://bewaterwise.org.nz/

https://www.nrc.govt.nz/environment/drought/where-to-find-help-in-northland/

We all know that droughts can be long and relentless. Look after yourself, family, employees, and keep an eye on your neighbours.

Talk to trusted advisors and those who have survived this before, and make use of the help or support.

Irrigation

Livestock

  • Have a robust and realistic plan and trigger points to take actions. Decisions should be made for animal welfare and farm profitability.
  • Do a feed budget and stick to it, while feeding stock as well as possible.
  • Destocking? Book in as early as possible; in some areas there can be delays of several weeks.

Concerns about your animals? 

 

Advice for lifestyle blocks

What are my options for my farm animals?

Plan for the long run.  You may be happy to buy in feed and water for a while. But what if there is no rain in a month, for example? What if water restrictions tighten? What are your trigger points to make decisions?

If you can’t provide enough food and water to keep your animals healthy and in good condition, you will need to reduce the number of animals on your block.

See if you can have animals moved somewhere with less pressure on water or feed. Can friends or family help? Depending on your situation and the type of animals you have, you may need to look at selling your animals or sending them to the works. There can be a backlog of several weeks, and it’s easier to sell animals in good condition, so make this decision sooner rather than later and call to find out timelines.

Whichever decision you make, you need to arrange transport for them, by you or a transport company, and you must make sure they are in a fit state to transport.  If in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Be mindful of fire risk and how your animals will fare. Have an evacuation plan for your family and pets.

Managing fire risk

Fire and Emergency NZ’s advice for people on lifestyle blocks and farms, and working in a rural area.

https://www.facebook.com/fireandemergencynz/

Fires can start from the smallest spark

  • Go to www.checkitsalright.nz for fire risk in your region
  • Be careful when mowing lawns, using chainsaws, grinding and using vehicles off-road
  • If possible, wait until the weather cools down and the wind drops
  • If there’s no alternative, mow grass or top paddocks in the early morning when its cooler and there may be a dew
  • Make sure the area where you are working is clear of flammable material
  • Have a fire extinguisher, hose or buckets of water within easy reach
  • Motorbikes, 4WD vehicles, quad bikes and hot machinery can also start fires. Think about how dry the vegetation is where you intend to go – is there an alternative?
  • Maintain the exhaust system on your machinery
  • Don’t park on dry, flammable material
  • Get rid of birds’ nests from in or around motors
  • Check all machinery is free of mechanical defects and has approved exhaust systems
  • Pay special attention to checking your machinery’s bearings and moving parts
  • Clean all machinery regularly to ensure belly pans and spaces around motors are free of oil, dust, grease, grass and straw
  • Carry appropriate fire extinguishers, shovels, or knapsack sprayers
  • Follow hot works New Zealand Standard 4781:1973 Code of Practice for Safety in Welding and Cutting
  • Maintain good driveway access to rural properties for fire trucks (4mx4m clearance).

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Terri Anderson

Categories: Northland

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