The Bay of Plenty has experienced a prolonged dry period.

This can be typical for us as a region over the summer months.

The New Zealand Drought Index by Niwa has classified our soils in parts of the region as in a moisture deficit.

That piece of jargon means our soils are drier than normal for this time of year. In the Bay of Plenty region, Galatea and the Western Bay of Plenty were the two areas most affected by the prolonged dry conditions as other areas received a little more rainfall over the summer period.


The recent rainfall in the past few weeks has gone a long way to turning the pastures around in the region. After any dry period, warm gentle rains are what the farming community wants and that is what we have received.

The amounts have varied greatly across the region but we are all grateful for what we have received. The rain has lifted the spirits of farmers and orchardists.

For some dairy farmers, the rain was late in coming and has affected this season's production so now it is about setting ourselves up for the next milking season. For some, tough calls have had to be made.

That means changes to the operation of farming. Getting rid of cull/sale stock earlier than normal, buying in extra feed or drying part of the herd off to match feed demand and supply on their farms. All these actions come with a cost.

For all farmers, extended dry periods become a logistics exercise for each business.

Farmers focus their thoughts on setting themselves up for next season physically, mentally and financially. As we say in farming "this season is done and dusted - start thinking about the next". Our bankers advise us "it is best to contain your losses to one season than carry them into the next".

So yes, it has been dry and this environmental impact has made life tough on farms for some, but that is the nature of the business we are in.

Nature does deliver us cruel blows. It is about two years on from when the Bay of Plenty was covered in water from cyclones Debbie and Cook.


- Darryl Jensen is the Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president.