15 Jun 2020

Canterbury farmers concerned about feed supply if a hard winter comes

12:46 pm on 15 June 2020

A North Canterbury farming leader says drought in the region has significantly dented feed covers on many farms in the region.

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Photo: 123RF

Winton Dalley, from the Hurunui Adverse Events Committee, said while there was some rain over the last two months, it wasn't sufficient and timely enough for a full recovery before winter.

Dalley said there hadn't been the usual amount of grass growth and farmers main concern was how they would cope for feed if they get a hard winter or a big dump of snow.

"The district has moved to a green drought, with feed covers at 50-60 percent of normal levels on many farms. Farmers acted early and prepared by buying in feed, destocking and finding grazing - one of the few benefits of past drought experiences."

Federated Farmers North Canterbury meat and wool chair, Dan Maxwell, said while most people would have a plan in place for some snow, it paid for farmers to think about how to cope with an extreme event.

"Give some thought to where you can position your stock so they have sufficient shelter and access to feed supplements if possible, and have sufficient animal health supplies on hand to deal with any sleepy sickness that may arise," he said.

Winton Dalley said not to underestimate the value of local experience.

"If you are new to the district get some advice now from neighbours who've been in this situation in the past. An extreme snow event is a time when we see neighbours really pull together.

Dalley said there was still feed available to buy, but farmers should arrange this sooner rather than later.