Comment: Federated Farmers Otago Meat and Wool Chairperson Simon McAtamney reflects on how the dry has affected the Clutha district.

The dry is a lot different to last year in the Clutha district.

It has slowly crept up on us through low rainfall and very hot temperatures in February and March.

Covers have got very low and much of the extra supplementary made in the spring is being fed out now.


A lot of winter crops don't look too flash either.

Fortunately, lamb prices have remained strong and although carcass weights are down on expectations, the price paid has been good.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

Large numbers of store lambs have been shifted from the district and have sold very well into what seems an insatiable market in Canterbury this year.

Are the new irrigation schemes that have come online in the last few years having an impact on this market?

Store cattle have been a different proposition and there is a very limited market.

The dry is also denting weaner calf sale prices somewhat.

This dry is quite different to others in that most sheep and beef farmers will not take too big a financial hit this season. More a year of lost opportunity financially.


It may well have already had an impact on next lambing with quite a few light ewes around.

Some good rain should still boost pasture covers quickly as ground temperatures remain warm.

However, it will be very tight going into the early part of winter at least, and sheep and beef farmers need to keep making decisions - either through unloading any saleable trading stock, grazing out and feeding supplements.

Keep thinking about the next move and what you might do next week if things aren't getting better, until you are comfortable that you can work your way through the winter.

Talk to your friends and neighbours, nothing cheers you up like everyone else being in the crap too!

Quite often they may have a good suggestion that you may not have considered yet.

As I finish writing this, we are getting some quite useful rain.

There is nothing like complaining about being dry and then the rain starts to fall. I should've written this a month ago!