Farmers told to budget stock feed to end of year

By Lawrence Gullery

Farmers are being told to budget stock feed carefully through to the end of the year as Hawke's Bay passes its eighth consecutive month of below-normal rainfall.

Figures released in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's State Of Our Environment report for April showed the region achieved just 73 per cent of its normal April rainfall, based on a 30-year average.

Waikaremoana recorded 94 per cent of normal rainfall, the highest for April, while the Ruataniwha Plains and Southern Hawke's Bay were the lowest at 50 per cent.

River flows were still low after eight months of lean rainfall, averaging 35 per cent of normal flow across the region.

The lack of rain and low river levels backed Ministry of Primary Industries view that the drought recovery was underway but "variable across the region".

The ministry's Hastings staff, Gillian Mangin and Annette Carey's April roundup for the environment report said northern areas of the region recorded more rain in April than the southern areas.

Central Hawke's Bay in particular remained "very dry" and was making slow recovery.

"Light rain during April helped new grass and winter feed crops strike. Many farmers have taken advantage of improving soil moisture levels and continuing mild temperatures to spread nitrogen."

Farmers continued to feed out supplements to stock while pasture growth rates improved.

"This focus on post-drought pasture management is important to enable pasture covers to build up for winter.

"Farmers are being encourage to budget their feed levels right through to December to ensure they have the right balance of stock on hand, given lower expected pasture production."

The East Coast Rural Support Trust and Federated Farmers continued with efforts to bring more ryegrass straw and other supplements to the region.

Temperatures for the month were above average. The highest daily temperature was 28.9C recorded near Bridge Pa, Hastings, while the lowest was -2.6C at Taharua, northwest Hawke's Bay.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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