Recent December rainfall has eased concerns for Hawke's Bay farmers heading into the driest time of year.

On December 7 Hawke's Bay made Niwa's weekly Hotspot Watch as one of five North Island areas experiencing soil moisture deficits after receiving no or very little rain for several weeks.

This had caused some concern among the region's farmers who would have been affected by dry conditions if no rainfall had occurred.

However, a few days of rain pushed Hawke's Bay off the list for the following week and it has remained off due to further bouts of rain including a wet four days following Christmas with 27.6mm recorded by MetService in Napier on Boxing Day.


Hawke's Bay Federated Farmers president Will Foley said there had now been enough rainfall to alleviate any concerns among farmers.

"There's been quite a bit of rain this month [December]," he said. "At this stage most farmers are reasonably comforted by the rain.

"We're okay and a lot better than other regions - a lot of farmers are thankful for that."

The recent wet weather had been unusual for this time of year which was usually starting to get very dry and would get worse over the next two months, he said.

"We expect it to be a reasonably dry part of the year."

Hawke's Bay has been lucky with other places like Taranaki, west Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington being declared a medium-scale drought.

December's rainfall has now put Hawke's Bay farmers in a good position to be able to deal with the expected dry conditions over the next couple of months, Mr Foley said.

Niwa's Hotspot Watch for December 21 said minor improvements were observed in Hawke's Bay and the fresh bout of rain after Christmas would see further developments in terms of soil moisture.

Some small portions of Hastings District and Mahia Peninsula were among the wettest soils for this time of year.