Federated Farmers recommends farmers have contingency plans in place in case the current mild El Nino intensifies, bringing a higher risk of drought, Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson Katie Milne says.
“Summer is looming and some parts of the country are already experiencing drier weather than last year, which for farmers in the summer dry areas means a return to business as usual,” Ms Milne says.
“Some regions are already noticeably drier than usual, which is causing some concerns. With summer officially starting tomorrow it is important that farmers have contingency plans in place, such as de-stocking and getting in supplementary feeds.
“It is important not to leave it too long to make decisions. If farmers have good plans ready, they can be proactive rather than reactive if a severe drought does eventuate.
“This is a reminder of how building more water storage systems could revolutionise New Zealand’s agriculture.
“While there is no indication of severe drought at this point, Niwa’s predictions of below normal rainfall in east coast of the North Island and the top of the South Island are a strong reminder of how vulnerable the New Zealand economy is climatic conditions.
“Obviously we are watching the situation closely.
“It is times like these we see the real value in building more and better water storage schemes, particularly in areas prone to drought. Good water storage would help buffer farmers from the vagaries of the weather.
“Fingers crossed the current El Nino weather pattern does not deepen and any plans made by farmers now need not be put into action,” Ms Milne concluded.