10 September 2014
Coasters nervous about a dry start to spring
Nervous West Coast farmers are hoping meteorologists are right that a rainmaker is close at hand, with no more than 1
millilitre (mls) falling at Westport over the past 23 days.
“This is the driest start to spring in some years,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast Provincial President.
“Apparently a dry spell is 15 consecutive days with less than one millilitre of rainfall and the South Island has been
very dry. Heck, even Milford Sound has been dry for going on 22 days.
“Speaking to the guys at MetService, they say it is down to a persistent high, which has been sitting out to the west
that’s meandering its way across the country.
“The good news is that MetService say over the next 10 days they are expecting around 100 mls for the West Coast. There
are two rainmakers in the frame but the more significant one is expectedFriday and into Saturday, with a complex trough
coming in from over the Tasman.
“I can tell you it will be welcome because the dry has brought back some unwelcome memories of the 2013 drought.
“It’s also wrecking havoc with fertiliser application and that’s going to affect pasture growth. It will have a knock on
effect for both dairy and drystock farms at the worst possible time.
“Spring is our most important farming season as our supplementary feed is depleted and grass stocks are at their lowest.
“Then again, once the weather tees off here, we’ll probably end up praying for sun,” Ms Milne concluded.