7 Dec 2014

Regions warned of possible drought

9:11 am on 7 December 2014

Two months of below-average rainfall is causing concern about a possible drought in Hawke's Bay - and Federated Farmers says a drought is probably also on its way to Canterbury.

farmer in dry paddock

Hawke's Bay and Canterbury have both been told to brace for a possible drought in coming weeks. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Hawke's Bay Regional Council senior climate and air scientist Kathleen Kozyniak said the worst-hit areas in the region were the Ruataniwha and Heretaunga plains.

"For October, we had about 60 percent of normal rainfall and November, we had about 50 percent," she said.

"So It's getting dry and we've had quite strong winds as well, so there's been plenty of drying going on as well."

Ms Kozyniak said the situation was not dire yet.

Federated Farmers' South Canterbury president Ivon Hurst said Canterbury was also on the verge of drought conditions, a month out from when dry weather usually hits.

The region has had very little rain in the past couple of months and what rain it has had was being blown out to sea by strong south-westerly winds.

Mr Hurst said farmers in Canterbury and North Otago should prepare for water shortages.

"You've got to move quickly and move now. You've got to send timeline limits," he said.

"So if it doesn't rain by a certain time, you're going to get rid of x number of stock. If it doesn't rain by the next date, then it's going to be more stock that are going to have to be moved."

Mr Hurst said, in drought situations, farmers should turn their attention to minimising losses instead of maximising profits.

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