Recent rainfall across New Zealand is bringing an end to drought conditions in some parts of the country. Two deep lows a week apart have seen river levels rising and dry farms turning from brown to green. “I’ve been speaking with farmers across the country and while they’re not out of the woods yet, solid rainfalls have starting to lift spirits” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.
Duncan says Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Nelson, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland have all seen significant rainfall over the past two weeks. “I would expect water restrictions to gradually lift across the country as more Autumn rain storms move in”.
But farmers and residents in three particular regions, Waikato, Manawatu and Wairarapa, are still under a huge amount of pressure as the big dry continues. Tony Leggett, Managing Editor of Countrywide Publications says the past couple of weeks have brought some patchy rain, but certainly not enough. “Some parts of Manawatu have seen 30mm, others only 10 over the past 2 weeks”. He said a cold south easterly would’ve given some farmers a fright on yesterday. “The temperature was only around 16 degrees which wont help the grass growth too much”. Leggett says the rain on it’s own is not enough and must be accompanied by warm temperatures to ensure healthy grass growth before winter.
Leggett says Wairarapa farms are better prepared for long dry summers, but the dry weather this season was “going on and on and on”. He says southern Taranaki dairy farmers are also feeling the pinch as wet weather falling in the north of the region fails to reach the southern farms.
And while Waikato has seen some good rain fall figures lately, Philip Duncan says it’s been patchy. “Paddocks are going green but there’s still very little grass to feed stock, however with La Nina well and truly anchored in I’d expect many more tropical lows to come our way over the next two months, which bodes very well for the North Island“.