3 Jun 2014

Waikato hill farmers still battling

7:53 am on 3 June 2014

Waikato dairy farmers may be feeling a bit more chipper following drought-breaking autumn rain but their dry stock farming counterparts in the hills are still struggling.

A teleconference of rural, ministry and regional council representatives last week was told they still needed a lot more rain to replenish soil moisture levels.

Waikato Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup said farmers in western Waikato and down into the King Country were most affected.

"There are quite big areas there that are under-pressure and there are some particular reasons for that," Mr Bateup said.

"Sheep and beef farmers are unable to bring in things like palm kernel, and those sort of things, to feed their stock during the dry periods, so some of them have destocked.

"And some of the stock, ewes in particular, have probably lost weight through the tail end of the dry period, so their mating may not be as good as it normally is, so lambing percentages could be down next year."

Farmers struggling to cope should contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254, Mr Bateup said.