Lambing season will be a beauty: Farmers

By Tim Wakely

If the recent weather is anything to go by - this year's lambing season is sure to be a cracker. Although the drought will hinder lambs numbers in September, farmers are reporting a much-improved outlook for the year ahead.

Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Ben Russell said farmers were relieved that the major difficulties of the past 12 months were behind them and felt conditions could only improve.

"The severe drought that has been experienced in many parts of the country, particularly in the North Island, has really knocked farmer confidence, as has the consistently high currency and overall generally difficult economic conditions," Mr Russell said.

"Many are now taking cheer that the worst of these conditions are behind them."

Tararua sheep farmer Grant Massie said his stock was in good order, and predicted half his stock to have twins.

"Of course we can't predict the weather at lambing but we are on target to achieve our 150 per cent lambing average," he said.

His stock was in good order and "are showing no effect of the dry summer that we had. The mixed-age ewes scanned at 186 per cent and the two-tooths at 191 per cent with 1.7 per cent dries," Mr Massie said.

The region's recent spell of good weather had helped make things easier by the day.

"This week is normally our toughest week of the year but soil temperatures are at 9 degrees and we are not getting frosts. Dannevirke could be the perfect place to be this year."

Mr Massie, who planned to start lambing about September 1, was confident in terms of stock condition and feed covers.

"Of course we can't predict the weather at lambing but we are on target to achieve our 150 per cent lambing average.

"Lamb prices look much better for next year so hopefully we have a kind lambing and reasonable spring and can capitalise on the better pricing."

Dannevirke Vet Services veterinarian Simon Marshall said the drought that had hit the country this year would affect the number of lambs born this season.

Because of the lack of feed available at the time, many ewes would produce only a single lamb instead of twins, Mr Marshall said.

The region's condition at the moment was a clear indication of a strong lamb season. However, the weather experienced earlier would have an impact on stock prices.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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