Tararua farmers are stepping up to help others in Hawke's Bay in dire need of stock feed.
That's despite having come through their own drought
Dave Kirk now drives for Dannevirke Carriers and has seen firsthand the desperate state of farming in Hawke's Bay which has endured almost eight months of well-below normal rainfall.
"Maraekakaho is the driest I've ever seen it. It's pretty dire," Kirk said.
"The drought is having a real flow-on effect as farmers are having to sell breeding stock."
Kirk has instigated a Tararua bale drive in conjunction with Dannevirke Carriers and is asking for donations of any surplus feed that farmers have.
"I mentioned the idea to Alan Castles [of Dannevirke Carriers] last week and he said we should give it a go and was right behind it."
The bales donated by Tararua farmers would boost the amount of feed that had already been donated by Wairarapa farmers and was transported there almost two weeks ago.
Kirk said although Tararua had also suffered a drought it had not been to the same extent as Hawke's Bay.
"We had some rain late in March and that kicked things along a lot quicker. It's actually looking quite good in places."
Kirk said he had one unit, about 40 bales, already and hoped to have another unit ready to go by early next week.
"Ideally it would be great if farmers could drop a bale or two to Dannevirke Carriers' yard on Umutaoroa Rd but we can pick them up."
He said they would take any sort of feed - straw, conventional or round hay bales or baleage, anything that could be spared.
Castles said Dannevirke Carriers would transport the feed to Tomoana where it would be distributed.
"It's shocking how bad it is up the bay so late in the season."
He said so far there had been a massive response from local farmers.
"It's amazing how farmers have been able to donate hay that they really need for themselves.
"We had one farmer donate some feed that he could have used, but he just said 'I might need some help one day'.
"I don't know how they can do it, but everybody is in the same boat."
Castles said a truckload of feed had been collected from Pongaroa farmers.
"Whole areas have become involved in this."
Castles said organising the bale drive had been a huge job for Kirk who had put a lot of time into it, with other drivers helping out as well.
Tararua Rural Support trustee Tony Rhodes said the situation in Tararua was improving.
"We've had some quite reasonable rain across the district and the grass cover is growing. Farmers have taken a lot of action over the last two months and a lot of nitrogen has been applied.
"A lot of farmers are feeding out and I don't know how that will affect them going forward into winter but they need to try to build up their pasture cover.
"We've had quite reasonable conditions for pasture growth. While conditions are becoming more favourable there's no doubt, from a moisture point of view, more rain is needed."
Rhodes said there had been 33mm of rain this week but it was on the surface and there was still not a lot of moisture in the soil.
"The hard frosts this week had been knocking back the grass growth and putting pressure on things but from my own point of view the paddocks have certainly freshened up."
• For more details on donating feed contact Dave Kirk on 027 222 2402 or to take bales to Dannevirke Carriers' yard phone 06 374 5811.