Farmers reap rainfall benefits

By Shauni James

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Sharemilker John Butterworth is one person who is loving the rain. Photo / Ben Fraser
Sharemilker John Butterworth is one person who is loving the rain. Photo / Ben Fraser

Rotorua has already had more than three times the amount of rainfall this month than it did for all of last January.

Metservice forecaster Frances Russell said from 8pm Monday to 1pm yesterday 45.2mm of rain was recorded at Rotorua airport with a vast majority falling between 2am and 8am.

There has been 89.8mm of rain so far this month, compared to just 27mm last January and 52mm in January 2014.

Rotorua Lakes Council public relations manager Mary Anne Gill said the council had 45 after hours calls overnight Monday with reports of small slips, trees down and blocked cesspits.

There were reports of flooding on Broadlands Rd, Totara St (Ranolf St end), Ford Rd and Hamurana Rd and there was a slip in Whirinaki Valley Rd/Totara Rd, she said.

One Rotorua resident said on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page "That's some heavy rainage out there! Crikey! Woke me up earlier than my alarm", while another "Woke up to a flooded back lawn and garage here in Lynmore".

Although residents and visitors may be wanting the summer sun to reappear, farmers are reaping the benefits.

Rotorua/Taupo Federated Farmers committee member Neil Heather said the rain in the last two weeks had added to the moisture levels in soil and would "set us up for the next month".

The rain meant grass was growing nicely and recovering well from earlier dry patches as "at this stage it seems to have all soaked in", said Mr Heather.

"With the pressure on dairy prices it's nice not to have the pressure of the weather at the same time."

However, Mr Heather said farmers could still have a dry February, March and April, which needed to be kept in mind.

Sharemilker John Butterworth said in January so far they had had more than 100mm of rain and were "in a really good position with pasture cover and the cows are in good condition".

Getting good growth meant there was not going to be a need to start feeding out supplements so soon and no need to cull cows as early as normal, said Mr Butterworth.

"It has helped because our milk payout is pretty low this year, so most farmers are going to be making cash loss this year."

Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park owner Jared Adams said despite the weather business had been solid for the whole month.

The park's busy season was extended and numbers were ahead this year compared to last, Mr Adams said. Things usually did quieten down a little bit in January, he said.

MetService is predicting mainly fine weather for the rest of the week.

Rotorua rainfall:

* January 2016 so far: 89.8mm

* January 2015: 27mm

* January 2014: 52mm

- Rotorua Daily Post

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