24 Nov 2015

Farmers on 'knife-edge' as land dries out

11:05 am on 24 November 2015

Evidence of a dry El Nino summer is beginning to be seen in Canterbury, and has farmers worried.

Drought conditions in mid-Canterbury, January 2015

Drought conditions last summer in mid-Canterbury Photo: Jeremy Talbot

Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the region is not seeing a lot of rain and the nor'west winds are already drying things out.

Fire restrictions have been put in place for the rural district of Selwyn, as have restrictions on taking water from the Opuha dam.

Dr Rolleston said farmers had had had plenty of warning and were as well prepared as they could be.

"They have made early decisions about quitting stock, and in fact the dairy downturn has meant dairy farmers have reduced their stock numbers as well so that's going to take some of the pressure off.

"But certainly we are on a bit of a knife-edge here in terms of what the weather is going to do in the next month or two and just how we will get through summer."