Farmers happy as Niwa says chances of drought unlikely

Feed is already growing well thanks to recent rain and farmers are hoping for a good season.
Feed is already growing well thanks to recent rain and farmers are hoping for a good season.

A drought this summer is looking unlikely as Niwa predicts a low chance of abnormal dry periods.

Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said the long-term forecast predicted rainfall until January would be above average or average.

"There is only a 20 per cent chance that the rainfall will be below average when we look through to January. The soil right now in Hawke's Bay is very moist."

He said easterly winds from the Pacific had brought a lot of rain in the past two months.

"For this time of the year the soil moisture is normal if not above normal. It has alleviated the dry soil from last summer."

Hawke's Bay Federated Farmers president, Will Foley, said they were pretty happy with the amount of moisture in the ground to date, especially in the lead-up to summer.

"We had about an inch of rain at the beginning of the week so it is keeping the pasture and crops growing and it has not been too wet for sowing crops either."

Foley said the wet October meant places particularly around the northern ranges were experiencing wetter conditions than normal.

"We are not yet concerned about a drought over the summer months, as the long-term forecast predictions did not look too dry."

Foley said farmers were more worried about droughts in autumn now as they have had dry autumns for the past few years.

Scattered rain is set to continue over the weekend.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said there would be wet weather this morning, which should clear later in the day.

"A front moves in overnight, which will bring more scattered rain Saturday morning but that should move off early and as the day progresses there will just be high cloud around."

She said if people did get hit by a shower later in the day it would be pretty unlucky.

"A southerly then moves in Saturday night but would again clear by Sunday morning."

She said Sunday would be the pick of the bunch, as it should be a mainly fine day with a high of 22C.

Foley said with the periods of rain farmers have had and warmer temperatures they were expecting a good farming season.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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