A group of rural men planning a fundraising ride from New Plymouth to Napier on farm bikes are also organising stock feed for drought-stricken Hawke's Bay farmers.

The 16 Fred Dagg types are calling themselves the Trevs. The group, including Whanganui's Hamish McDougal and former Whanganui resident Leighton Minnell, are taking part in Trev's 2020 Farm Yarn, a coast to coast adventure across the central North Island to raise awareness of rural mental health issues.

They planned to put on singlets, shorts and gumboots and ride CT 110 farm bikes across the central North Island, crossing the Whanganui River on a barge.

They were one day into the ride when the lockdown began on March 26. They will try again later, and are now organising farmers to provide stock feed to their fellows on the dry side.


The initiative is backed by Federated Farmers Wanganui, president Mike Cranstone said.

The drought has had a massive impact, but Whanganui had widespread rain this month and it got some grass growing. Despite that, most farmers have used the hay and baleage stored for winter, and Cranstone has been feeding barley to his ewe hoggets.

But he said if farmers can spare a bale or two it will help those in Hawke's Bay and repay the times they sent feed after the 2004 and 2015 floods.

Any feed pledged will be picked up at farms and stored, ready to send within two weeks. Trucking companies will cart it at little or no cost and 20 bales have been pledged already.

Cattle in Hawke's Bay have no grass to eat. Photo / Supplied
Cattle in Hawke's Bay have no grass to eat. Photo / Supplied

Hawke's Bay has had little rain and none is forecast for the next 10 days. Drought across the North Island means there's not much feed to buy anywhere.

Many farmers are only taking half their usual number of stock through winter, Cranstone said, which will mean a big hit to their income in spring.

The collected feed will be distributed by the Rural Support Trust to Hawke's Bay farmers who have worked with a consultant on a feed budget and destocking plan.

"This ensures that this feed hopefully will make a meaningful difference in getting some priority stock through the winter," Cranstone said.


Its arrival may also boost morale.

"Donated feed coming in from neighbouring regions hopefully will give Hawke's Bay farmers a lift in spirits and let them know that they are not having to fight this alone."