Over the weekend I had the chance to meet with about a dozen Waikato and Bay of Plenty farmers – the main topic of their conversation was mostly to do with how dry conditions were getting a week ago, but what a difference last week made.
For weeks we’ve been reporting about drier than average conditions which have been forming in some farms. While it may not seem dry to many who live in the city the conditions under foot – with the exception of last week – have been incredibly dry across parts of the North Island for the past couple of months.
Rain last week was heavier than expected – something you’ll find few farmers and growers complaining about.
The rain has turned areas that were facing a potential early repeat of last summer into a bumper late spring burst of growth.
“If we hadn’t had last weeks rain we’d be looking at drought conditions retuning to my farm in the next month or so” said one Waikato farmer. Others were more optimistic they could make comfortably into 2014 even if no more rain fell this year, but likewise were concerned the pattern was similar to last years.
The middle of November is still likely to see a dry trend returning, as WeatherWatch.co.nz told Fonterra last month – and that report also said there was a chance of Tasman Sea rain maker in the final week of November.
Some models pick it happening, others aren’t so sure. Either way, the rain that fell last week was heavy enough to keep most gardens and farms growing well into early December. Another solid rain event before the month is out would lock in a healthier set up for December too…but that isn’t locked in yet.
For now, we have several dry or mostly dry days ahead for most of the country – with just a few showers, most likely in the north east and south west. Enjoy the weather!
– Column by head weather analyst Philip Duncan