The weather is an age old topic of discussion.
The current weather system New Zealand is experiencing has farmers worried.
We’ve been living in New Zealand for 36 years and don’t ever remember a spring as dry as the one that has just officially finished. In fact we could say that Spring was a ‘non event’. We’ve gone from a dry winter straight into a summer drought. Dargaville received just 10mms of rain during November.
1st December is the first day of summer. Pastures over many parts of the country are as parched as they would ‘normally’ be at the end of summer.
This is starting to create a pretty nasty picture for farmers incomes this year on top of last seasons losses from long drought conditions. In the north ground water levels were not filled during the winter. It’s surprising really that grass growth has kept going this long but the extraordinary above average temperatures of the last two weeks have brought things to an end in the grass department. Some crops of newly sown turnips are starting to give up the ghost in the hot, dry soil.
Just to rub salt into the wounds, last night on TV we heard economic commentators say that farmers incomes are coming right! Which planet do these people live on? Farm gate beef prices are not much different now to what they were 10 – 15 years ago. In real terms all farmers incomes have fallen even before we start to consider the drought.