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Help at hand for drought-struck farmers

5 May 2020

Help at hand for drought-struck farmers

Local farmers are being hit hard with the effects of both a drought and Covid-19.

To keep everyone up-to-date, below are links to the latest news and information.

While Tairāwhiti has had some rain, it has been variable.

While some communities and districts had enough rain to begin to re-green pastures other received only a few millimetres. For most farmers it hasn’t been enough to promote good winter feed growth and it’s a concern.

AgFirst consultant Hilton Collier says those who have winter supplement have already started to feed out, which has flow on implications for late winter. “Stock water supplies are very poor, streams are drying up – if they aren’t already, and there's concern about the number of weaners that are likely to remain on farms longer than planned or expected due to the suspension of sale yard operations,” says Mr Collier.

The slower meat processing remains an issue with access to normal services like trucking to relocate stock, is also a constraint. “This could mean going into winter short of feed, and that’s a situation that won’t change until the spring. The problem will only be alleviated by more rain, and warm weather, but nature and Covid-19 are both against us.”

Drought affected farmers are encouraged to plan ahead for the winter and seek out winter feed supplies now where it’s needed. Quite a few farms have cleared their dams to improve water storage and others have planted winter feed crops. Plans should involve looking at the use of nitrogen on target feed sites to boost grass growth prior to winter. 

The Rural Support Trust has resources in place to help those in need

With 24/7 phone services for those seeking advice, feeling stressed or unable to cope. Text 1737 or phone 0800 111 757.  
Regionally there are qualified counsellors available through 0800 787 254.  
Rural support coordinator David Scott is also available on 027 211 9941.  

Useful links and information

Getting support with your feed planning. Possible feed supplies:

Farmlands - nutrition supplies(external link)

Kirkpatrick Feed Supplies(external link) 

AgriHQ Feed Noticeboard(external link)

Agrifeeds Dry Feeds(external link)

Other local feed contractors can advise on feed availability.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand 

Beef + Lamb Extreme Dry Management Toolkit(external link)  

Government’s tax changes to support business

Fact sheet Supporting small and medium sized enterprises during the Covid-19 crisis(external link) 

MPI’s advice and information

MPI advice for farming and other primary sector businesses and support services to operate safely(external link)