Cameron Henderson says he has had ''the perfect start'' to what will be a busy year.

The Federated Farmers North Canterbury president and Oxford dairy farmer said production was ahead of last year in near perfect conditions, as he contemplated juggling farm work and presidential duties with spending up to four months overseas.

''It's been awesome. This season will be difficult to beat, with the rain coming when we needed it and the sun coming out just when we needed it.''

This was in stark contrast to the start of the season, coming off a dry winter with predictions of a dry El Nino summer and the irrigators being turned on in October.


''We've only had the irrigators on for a week in October and again this month, so to get to mid-January and only have two weeks of irrigation is pretty unusual.''

He said other farmers would prefer more sunshine, especially going into the harvest.

''It depends on what side of the fence you sit on. The flip side for us is that we don't need to irrigate, which reduces cost.

''We've got good feed quality and production is 6 per cent ahead of last year.

''For the arable guys, as long as it dries off over the next few weeks so they can get a harvest, it should be OK.''

Henderson said he would spend about four months overseas from the first week in March as part of his Nuffield Scholarship, which meant he would miss the Federated Farmers North Canterbury provincial annual meeting on April 5.

Senior vice-president Dan Hodgen would take the reins.

''I'll be relying on the teams both on-farm and at Feds to keep things going and I have no concerns with either of them. They will probably enjoy me being away.''


His priorities with Federated Farmers this year would be contributing to the development of a Canterbury rural economic development strategy and addressing water quality, the proposed Zero Carbon Act, the tax working group's proposals and local government rates.

''These are concerning issues, but there are good opportunities for us to try to create a pathway that will bring everyone on board.

''No doubt there will be arguments for and against, but as long as there's good logic behind the decisions.

''When it comes to climate change and water quality, we've got to do something. They are very complicated issues, but you can't really wait until you've got the perfect plan.''