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South Island farmers struggling with historic drought

Farmers across the South Island are struggling with ongoing drought, as some areas face the driest summer in more than 70 years.

Low rainfall and soaring temperatures have hit Marlborough, Tasman and North Canterbury hard.

The Government’s declaration of a medium-scale adverse event will continue until February, running almost a year.

Awatere Valley farmer Greg Harris said if things don’t change he’ll have to cut stock.

“Stock has to be moved. Obviously animal welfare is an important issue, so a lot of people are moving stock out of the region and buying in feed. Obviously if you’re going to buy in feed and then feed out there’s obviously a cost involved with that, and transporting stock there’s obviously issues.”

Federated Farmers North Canterbury provincial president Frank Brenmuhl said it’s a dangerous time of year, and warned the tough year isn’t over for Cantabrians.

“We know that we’ve only had 0.8 of a metre recharge in the area and that irrigation has started earlier this year. There are some farmers that are lowering their pumps deep down their wells to try and ensure that they’ve got enough water through the irrigation season.”

He’s calling for everyone in the community to checking on others to make sure everything is okay.

– Newstalk ZB


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