23 Dec 2014

Weather relief for Southland contractors

6:20 am on 23 December 2014

A weather turn around in Southland in the past fortnight has come as a welcome relief for contractors and farmers, who have finally been able to plant next winter's crops and make hay and silage before Christmas.

Rural Contractors New Zealand's vice-president David Kean said some people lost up to half of their earnings in November because it was too wet to work.

He said despite a small break in September, Southland had been saturated by heavy rain since August.

"We're talking about any where between 300 and 400 millimetres for the two months and things just never dried out, the hollows in paddocks were just always too wet, but since the rain stopped, the last two weeks has brought sunshine to Southland, the grounds dried out enough for contractors to get the fodder beet and brassicas in the up and coming winter.

"The silage guys and the baleage guys have just been working day light to dark and yes, we're pleased to say it's been a good turnaround.

"A lot of people were getting depressed, not just contractors also farmers, things just weren't happening and everyone's got it in their head that it's got to be done before Christmas and we could all see that it wasn't going to be done unless we had a huge turn around in the weather, and financially it was huge for a lot of contractors as well, the work that you miss out on you just don't seem to pick up on it."

For farmers on the West Coast, another downpour over the weekend had put them back for hay and silage making and they were hoping for some warmer weather after a cold, wet November.

In Marlborough, weekend rain brought a little relief to dry parts of the region, but the pressure was still on some areas, like northern Otago where water restrictions are already in place as rivers hit minimum flow.

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