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Dry start to spring on West Coast

West Coast farmers are nervous about the dry start to spring so far, with barely a drop of rain in the past 23 days.

Only 1 millimetre of rain has fallen at Westport in that time, with farmers crossing their fingers they are not in for another drought, Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president Katie Milne said.

“This is the driest start to spring in some years. Apparently a dry spell is 15 consecutive days with less than 1mm of rainfall and the South Island has been very dry. Heck, even Milford Sound has been dry for going on 22 days,” she said. 

“The good news is…there are two rainmakers in the frame, but the more significant one is expected on Friday and into Saturday, with a complex trough coming in from over the Tasman.” 

The forecast rain will be welcome, she said, as the dry spell had brought back painful memories of last year’s drought.

“It’s also wreaking havoc with fertiliser application and that’s going to affect pasture growth. It will have a knock-on effect for both dairy and drystock farms at the worst possible time.

“Spring is our most important farming season as our supplementary feed is depleted and grass stocks are at their lowest.”

– NZ Herald


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