Weather is a fickle friend of the farmer.
Local weather patterns are appearing to change.
The summer temperatures we are experiencing are the hottest I can remember and Rotorua city can confirm that with uncharacteristically high summer water use.
Reservoirs are running dangerously low.
As I write this our province is in need of a change in the weather pattern and some gentle rain. The 15ml last Friday and Saturday was ideal but it hasn't really impacted the area because of the south easterly winds which followed it.
Like in many areas the top soil in our province is incredibly dry which means in an ideal world, to bring back moisture, an initial warm gentle rain is needed so the ground can absorb it.
Some areas are more stressed than others and this would be the case on our very light and ash type soils.
Most farmers will have plans to cover a six-week summer dry. What I consider to be different this year is the intense heat.
As a consequence farmers are now in a program culling all unwanted animals in an effort to reduce feed demand.
They will also have a program under way of feeding supplement in the form of crop (kale, chicory or turnips) as well as perhaps feeding silage.
Every farmer worth their weight in gold does make plans for adverse weather patterns.
The other consideration farmers will have to make is around their discretionary spending.
Coupled with this dry patch is that the dairy industry will receive a payout approximately 50 cents per kg of milk solids less than last year.
The unfortunate trickledown effect of both of these events is that there will be less money coming from the pastoral farming sector to businesses in the urban area.
- Alan Wills is the Federated Farmers provincial president for Rotorua and Taupō.