Thursday, April 25, 2024

More than April showers needed to relieve this dry

Neal Wallace
South Canterbury hasn’t had decent rain since December.
Reading Time: < 1 minute

South Canterbury’s parched Hakataramea Valley needs more than one decent rain to turn conditions around.

Local farmer Hamish Bell said it will take several decent deluges for the area to recover, something he is hoping will happen over autumn.

After two exceptional summers, he hasn’t had decent rain since December and the lack of moisture has been accentuated by constant wind and, until recently, heat.

Even those farmers with irrigation are struggling to maintain growth.

Hamish and Charlotte, who farm 1000ha of rolling farmland, have been feeding supplements to their sheep for a month and have destocked all their lambs.

On reflection, Hamish said he should have weaned his lambs earlier than mid-January.

He weaned and sold his calves this week, a month earlier than usual, and these will be followed in the coming days with dry and cull cows.

“Every mouth we can get off the farm will help.”

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