1 Dec 2010

Drought threatens as dry weather continues

10:30 am on 1 December 2010

As farmers in many parts of the country anxiously await rain, officials say Northland could be in official drought by Christmas.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) says the dry spell comes as some farmers are still dealing with the effects of drought earlier in the year.

Dargaville kumara grower Andre De Bruin says most growers in Northland are about two-thirds of the way through planting crops, and many are struggling to break the hard, dry ground.

The dry weather is now starting to affect areas further south; Waikato, King Country, Manawatu, Nelson and Marlborough.

The head of MAF's national adverse events committee, Phil Journeaux, says some farmers are already having to sell off stock to get by.

The committee was meeting in Whangarei on Wednesday to discuss how it might deal with a drought if the dry conditions continue.