Lingering heat and a lack of rain has stalled local pasture growth and sparked a meatworks log-jam with many farmers forced to process their stock early.

The hot dry start to summer has seen councils put water restrictions into effect, with both Napier City Council and Central Hawke's Bay District Council enacting water restrictions.

Restrictions were set at level two overnight in CHB, meaning outdoor watering can take place on alternate days, at limited times only.

Residents of odd numbered properties can water their gardens with a hose or sprinkler on odd days of the month, while those occupying even numbered properties can water on even days.


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Sprinklers can be used for one hour per day only, before 9am and after 5pm. Hand-held hoses can be used before 10am and after 4pm but cannot be left running unattended.

Napier City Council activated its restrictions in late November with sprinklers and hoses under restriction which means they can only be used between 6am and 8am, and 7pm and 9pm with even numbered houses on even days of the month, and odd numbered houses on odd days of the month.

"It's only the start of summer but already we're seeing residential water usage increasing steadily across the district, paired with low river levels," says Monique Davidson, chief executive of Central Hawke's Bay District Council.

MetService meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree said although the start of summer has been dry the region could see a little relief with some rain expected early next week.

"The weekend looks set to be mostly fine with more temperatures of highs between 25-26C during the day and overnight lows of 14-16C," Crabtree said.

Hawke's Bay Today agricultural writer Rose Harding said that prices over the last few weeks had taken a hit by the lack of rain. Photo / Warren Buckland
Hawke's Bay Today agricultural writer Rose Harding said that prices over the last few weeks had taken a hit by the lack of rain. Photo / Warren Buckland

"But late Monday night and most of the day Tuesday a low pressure system is set to hit Hawke's Bay which will bring a bit of much needed rain for the region."

That rain is needed for most farmers according to Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Jim Galloway who said the dry conditions have caused issues for stock farmers and processing for Silver Fern Farms.

"Because it has been so dry it means the pasture that is growing isn't the best quality which is what lambs need, so many farmers have to process their stock earlier but Silver Fern Farms have to turn farmers away because they are too busy."


But Galloway said the expected rain due next week should help those farmers out.

Hawke's Bay Today agricultural writer Rose Harding earlier said prices over the past few weeks had taken a hit by the lack of rain and lamb feed, while also the lack of processing space is being blamed for the falls.

Although the rain will bring a bit of relief for stock farmers Galloway said vegetable growers have made the most out of warm weather.

"Vegetable farmers with proper irrigation have flourished with the sun out because it has massively helped with their produce, so the lack of rain hasn't been a problem for all farmers."