21 Dec 2010

Drought zones remain, despite rain

2:30 pm on 21 December 2010

The Ministry of Agriculture won't be making any changes to drought zones, despite a good amount of rain in those areas over the past week.

Farmers are rejoicing because they say the rain will help replenish parched soils and get pastures and crops growing again.

The Government has recognised the drought status of Northland, north Auckland, Waikato and the Ruapehu district.

Last week, Taranaki made an application to be included, but it has now put that on hold because of the rain.

MAF says the rain that has fallen has been very good because it has soaked into the ground rather than running off.

But it's not enough to warrant a review of the drought declarations.

The ministry will keep a close watch on how pastures and crops respond to the rain that has fallen in drought areas.

Still more needed in Northland

Northland Federated Farmers says the rain has replenished soil moisture levels for most of the region's farms.

But president Matthew Long says it will take a few weeks before pastures return to normal summer levels.

If the region does not get further rain over the next three weeks, he says it could turn dry again very quickly.