10 Nov 2014

Northern farmers to get drought smart

6:49 am on 10 November 2014

Farmers from Northland through to the King Country will be able to hear some sage advice this week about how to cope with drought and other challenges.

Organisers of the Beyond Reasonable Drought roadshows that attracted big farmer turnouts in Hawke's Bay, the eastern and central North Island and Northland earlier this year have set up another series, which will begin at Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands this afternoon.

The earlier roadshows featured Marlborough farmer Doug Avery, who has inspired other farmers with the story of how he and his family rescued their farm from collapse after discovering the drought-resistant powers of lucerne.

The latest series called Beyond, Beyond Reasonable Drought will feature an award winning Hawke's Bay farmer, Steve Wynn-Harris, and an Australian resilience advisor, Dennis Hoiberg.

Project co-ordinator Ant Lagan said the drought and flooding that hit Northland farmers this year made it a logical choice for the latest roadshow, which is all about smart farming.

He said they had put together a list of the ingredients for smart farming, from understanding soils and soil mapping through to responsible cash management programmes and feed budgeting.

"Most of the guys would get into trouble in adverse conditions when they run out of food, and feed budgeting programmes like Farmax allow them to see earlier what is going on and if they have to de-stock, they can probably take those opportunities before others," he said.

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