Extreme weather conditions over the past few months have led to unprecedented demand for stock feed, says national feed company GrainCorp.
A very wet winter and spring last year evolved into an extremely warm, dry November and December, with drought conditions declared in several regions of New Zealand.
Just before Christmas the Government declared a drought in parts of the North Island including Taranaki, Wellington and Manawatu-Whanganui, then later drought was declared in the Grey and Buller districts on the west coast of the South Island.
At the end of January the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Communities announced the medium-scale adverse classification for the drought would be extended to the whole of Southland, Otago's Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts.
In January and through February, wet warm weather hit – with sub-tropical storms causing havoc in some areas of the country.
Although the rain has been welcomed by the rural community, it hasn't mitigated the impacts of the early hot, dry summer in many areas.
GrainCorp Feeds said it had been busy helping farmers fill feed deficits by providing a range of supplementary feed options.
"Due to significant climatic and seasonal challenges on farms across New Zealand we have seen demand for all feeds increase over recent months, from low cost feeds such as PKE (palm kernel extract) to higher value grain-based feeds," said GrainCorp Feeds general manager Daniel Calcinai.
"Climatic events provide huge challenges to farmers across their entire farming operation, but particularly when it comes to feed," he said.
Calcinai said that high temperatures have been hard on cows in some regions.
"The cows struggled with heat stress, which impacted feed intake and production levels," he said.
"After Taranaki was declared a drought region prior to Christmas, we found that feed demand increased significantly there to keep cows milking."
Last month GrainCorp Feeds announced it was offering molasses through its national supply chain.