Parched farms a worry

By Trevor Quinn,


Farmers were staying calm despite worrying dry conditions, said Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon.

But he said if dry conditions persisted, farmers would be worried about the prospects of a drought.

Most were prepared for this scenario and had sold additional stock and had weaned early. However, many farmers would be worried if rain wasn't forthcoming in the week or so.

The average rainfall in the Wairarapa was well down on average figures, with Castlepoint receiving less than one tenth of their average rainfall, while Masterton had just one third of its average rainfall.

In Castlepoint there was an average of 9mm of rain, 76mm less than the average rainfall of 85mm.

In Masterton the average rainfall was 18mm, much less than the average rainfall of 58mm in the area.

Chris Engel of Federated Farmers said water restrictions in the western Wairarapa area were posing problems.

He said Parkvale Stream water levels were dropping daily.

Dairy farmer Mr Engel also said the low water levels of the Waiohine River is a concern for local residents and businesses who rely on it.

"This morning the Waiohine River was hitting 3.9 metres and the restrictions [come into] place from 3.395 metres," he said.

"If irrigation ceases we'll have to go to plan B."

Mr Engel currently irrigates 75 per cent of his land and he is worried if irrigation ceases he could potentially lose half his land if the dry weather persists.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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