22 Feb 2012

Canterbury farmers dreading predicted rain

7:32 am on 22 February 2012

Canterbury's arable farmers are dreading further rain which is forecast for later this week as it could make or break the harvest for some crops.

Weeks of damp, humid weather have disrupted harvesting of grass seed crops in much of Canterbury because conditions are too wet to cut the grass and separate the seed.

Federated farmers Mid-Canterbury grain and seed chair David Clark says the ten-day forecast shows no promise of the dry, sunny spell growers desperately need and the delay is putting all crops at risk.

Mr Clark says there is now a traffic jam of crops with grass, peas and cereals all yet to be harvested.

"So there's going to be some number of harvest days before the combines even get into the cereals," says Mr Clark.

He said Thursday's predicted 25 to 50mm of rain could be a game changer bringing with it serious quality issues and downgrades to the cereal harvest which would not only limit the availability of milling and feed grains, but also have a negative effect on arable farmers' income.