Farmers welcome the rain

By Alison King

Heavy rain has brought some respite to farmers and eased the demand for water in the city.

But while rain is also forecast to continue today, there is another period of hot, dry weather on its way.

"It's a brief respite but it's a welcome respite," said Rerewhakaaitu dairy farmer and Federated Farmer regional dairy chairman Bryon Osborne.

"One farmer I know said when it rains at night he gets a good sleep. Ultimately we would like to have this rain in 10ml bursts for the next five days but we'll take what we can get. There are a lot of farmers out there with bated breath."

Mr Osborne said the shorter bursts of rain were preferred as it was able to be soaked into the ground. Heavy rain had a tendency to run off.

He said the dry summer had led to a number of farmers milking once a day with a few herds already drying off. His own production was down 27 per cent in the month to date and 7 per cent down on the year.

"We've also got to be proactive now with eczema, we've had no spore counts but the rain might get them going."

A call for sensible water use and the subsequent rain has led to demand easing on Rotorua District Council's water supply.

Council utilities operations manager Eric Cawte said demand had reached 33,000cu m of water but after an appeal on Friday to be more restrained there had been a noticeable drop.

"We appreciate the notice that people have taken and consumption has eased off," Mr Cawte said.

"With this rain we expect demand to drop right back but it looks like we're getting another stretch of hot weather."

"Water use has been discussed in council that we need to do our bit and lead by example."

He said the city had not had to impose water restrictions in the past but that was because warnings had been effective.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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