Thursday, May 19, 2022

Southland dry set to continue as high dominates

There appears little chance of respite rain for parched southern farms in the coming weeks, as officials start considering whether to declare an adverse event.

The situation is being called a perfect storm, with meat companies forced to reduce capacity when farmers need to quit stock, due to the impact of covid-19 on staff and their families.

There appears little chance of respite rain for parched southern farms in the coming weeks, as officials start considering whether to declare an adverse event.

WeatherWatch senior forecaster Philip Duncan optimistically said 20mm of rain could fall over the lower South Island in the next two weeks, as a stubborn high pressure system continues to dominate weather patterns.

The heaviest individual rain event could bring 10mm.

“It’s a very settled pattern really and there is not much rain in the forecast,” Duncan said.

He said this is a continuation of a weather pattern which has dominated southern New Zealand since spring.

Meanwhile, rural groups in Southland have been meeting regularly for several weeks monitoring dry conditions, which have worsened.

The situation is being called a perfect storm, with meat companies forced to reduce capacity when farmers need to quit stock, due to the impact of covid-19 on staff and their families.

“The ability for farmers to manage the current dry conditions is being

seriously hampered by staff shortages created by community covid-19 in both the rural servicing industry and the processing companies,” Southland Rural Support Trust chair Cathie Cotter said.

Pasture covers and winter crops are well below average levels and many farmers are already dipping into their winter feed supplies to keep stock fed while they wait for rain.

But time is running out as the growing season shortens every day without rain.

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