17 Jul 2015

Weather adds further burden for farmers

4:29 pm on 17 July 2015

Federated Farmers' Wairarapa provincial president, Jamie Falloon, says dairy farmers not only have the challenging low payouts to deal with, but also the weather.

He warned that the El Nino weather pattern that meteorological forecasters are predicting this year could reduce agricultural output, as it is likely to bring with it severe droughts.

Mr Falloon says farmers need to start planning now.

"That always makes you a little nervous. Getting good information about what the climate is going to do and what the weather looks like it is going to be like. And thinking about what you did when you last had a period like that, so you're resilient, because once they stop milking, you're stuffed.

"You've got to keep the production flowing and then you might be able to take an opportunity of increased prices later on in the season."

"We are thinking about it. The numbers have been bandied about and it's looking like 1997-98. And I don't want to be alarmist, and I wasn't farming in those days, but they were pretty severe droughts for farmers.

"It's just another thing we've got to consider when you're thinking about what you're looking at in front of you, about what you've got to do.

"The challenge is not to jump too quick and drop stocking numbers, or say it's going to be a drought or you've got to do this, because if it isn't then you've got to put yourself doubly back. So this adds to the extra challenges we face."

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