[A_010118WCBRCNew12.JPG] Soils are still very dry in Whanganui. Photo / Bevan Conley Laurel Stowell laurel.stowell@whanganuichronicle.co.nz

Recent small and patchy showers did nothing to alleviate drought conditions - but this week's rain could help.

Soils in parts of the Manawaū/Whanganui region were among the driest in the country last week, Niwa said.

Over that week some parts of the western North Island got 30mm of rain. For Whanganui it was mainly drizzly showers, with 3.8mm the biggest total fall in the previous month.


Much of the lower North Island is in the same state, with Wairarapa the worst-hit area.

In Whanganui facial eczema spores have not reached danger levels in most places, however they are edging above the danger line in Rangitīkei.

Drought was declared on March 12, and many farmers are short of feed for their animals.

Farms and agriculture-related businesses are deemed essential during the lockdown, and can continue to operate. Those with five or more staff, or staff unable to socially isolate in their work, have been asked to register with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Beef + Lamb NZ has an information hub dedicated to Covid-19 response on its website.

MPI is offering up to $5000, after June this year, for agricultural businesses to get advice on how to recover from drought. Inland Revenue can also provide income assistance options.

There could be relief ahead, in the form of rain. MetService is predicting showers coming in to the lower North Island from the west, and continuing today as winds turn to the south.

Whanganui may get as much as 30mm by the end of the day.