Warm autumn weather a boon for Bay farmers

By Sam Hurley

The Antarctic blast that hit the country to start the week has quickly passed and the otherwise gentle warm autumn Hawke's Bay has received is forecast to return for the first days of winter.

Lyn McConchie of Farside Farm in the upper Norsewood plateau said a cold snap was expected sooner or later but the mild weather experienced over May had helped replenish feed and water levels.

"We have had a couple of small cold wet snaps but we have usually been running at around 16C and 18C most days," she said. "It was 4C at 7am today and we have had a total of 102ml of rain for the month and with the five and a half inches we had last month, I would say the water table is quite good.

"The grass is growing at a good rate and we have not had any frosts yet," she said. "We are higher than most people, somewhere between 300m and 400m, so if we haven't had any, I don't think anyone else would have."

She said there had been snow dustings on the surrounding hills but that with temperatures expected to rise any snow found would be further to the east.

The MetService 10 day forecast projects a long fine spell is set to hit the region as temperatures return to a more mild state with a high of 16C forecast today in Napier and Hastings. Saturday, the first official day of winter, is set to receive a high of 19C in Napier and Hastings, while the mercury will continue to rise on Sunday with 20C forecast, a stark contrast from the 9C high on Tuesday.

The projected settled weather is a result of dry westerlies and northwesterlies and a high pressure system arriving from across the Tasman.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said farmers have had a fabulous autumn post drought with warmer weather, allowing high soil temperatures and grass growth.

"It's always a challenge post drought but farmers have had good time to get themselves prepared with a very calm and warm autumn spell."

He said, however, as winter arrives farmers will be always faced with a challenge.

"We will see grass growth begin to slow considerably as soil temperatures do drop," he said. "But many farmers have prepared well and have either de-stocked or have ordered in extra feed."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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