1 Nov 2019

Regional Wrap

From On the Farm, 9:13 pm on 1 November 2019
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Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

In Northland kumara is being planted - seventy percent goes in in November.  The weather's been relatively dry - just a bit cooler than usual and growers and farmers are looking forward to the band of rain due to come through next week. There's plenty of grass about and dairy farmers are having a great run.

Pukekohe and its market gardens have had a few showers; temperatures have risen slightly and there's been more sun.  As the ground conditions become drier, cultivation's possible. Irrigation has started for some crops. Most green leafed vegetables remain at low retail prices except for celery which is in shorter supply as it grows through the bolting period.

In Waikato strawberry growers are waiting for sun and some heat. It's been reasonably cool and because of it, maize is going in a bit late.  Silage contractors are busy.

In Bay of Plenty pasture's been bolting away and the good quality feed's been putting weight on cattle and lambs.  Farmers are asking for more sun and less wind - it's been incessant this spring and is getting farmers down - it's horrible to work in.  Farmers needed to have their submissions in about the Government's fresh water proposals by Thursday. The farmer we rang had spent 15 hours on his - at one of the busiest times of the year.   He says he knows of many many farmers who made submissions so there'll be an incredible amount of reading to do by the decision makers. He's hoping they'll make a difference.  He says so much of the proposal is wrong and needs to be made right and it's created a lot of  negative feeling towards the government. He says farmers are irked they have no opportunity to speak to their submissions.

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Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

To King Country now where the farmers are expecting it to become very hot and dry this weekend with temperatures predicted to hit 30 degrees. The  farmer we rang says she can remember swimming at Labour Weekend so it's not totally out of the ordinary.  The road is still out on the Forgotten World highway, 20 km from Taumarunui -  which demands an hour detour. She says locals are really angry and its having a huge impact on tourism operators and trucking firms too. She says long term maintenance on the road has been sadly lacking.  

In Taranaki mating is well underway with good submission rates. There's plenty of grass about. Everyone is making silage . The farmer we spoke to did a pit full on Friday. The wind and showers are causing the odd headache for contractors. Farmers want their crop paddocks sprayed out - but it's always windy. He says his paddocks ended up being sprayed out on Saturday - in the wind.

Gisborne's had some beautiful rain. Two weeks ago people were worried about their water supplies but they've had a welcome top up. There's oodles of grass and stock prices are really hot. Forestry is going flat stick and boats are piling up waiting to come in and be loaded. It's been warm - people have been swimming - but not our contact - who reckons they're tough as...

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Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

Hawkes Bay's had a run of good weather. Apple growers are seeing very heavy fruit drops. A hort consultant John Wilton says it's been caused by two things. He says hail on October the 1st hit trees in blossom and has done a better job than any blossom thinner porgramme he's ever seen. And then, in the middle of the month, 100 millimetres of rain fell which created problems with fruit set.  He's predicting there'll be a huge variation in crop yield from orchard to orchard this year - in orchards that were well advanced the hail has caused a lot of mischief but in later orchards the trees have been unscathed and should carry good crops.  He says there'll be much more hand thinning needed this year to salvage the crop. Orchardists will have to wait another couple of weeks until apples are the size of a 20 cent piece to be able to spot what is damaged and what's not.  A second thinning might be needed after Christmas

With the wind and heat forecast for this weekend in Wairarapa, dairy farmers will be looking at turning their irrigators on. The region's had a good stretch of sun and there's lots of silage down. Cows are milking really well.;

In Manawatu and Rangitikei, docking is still underway in the high country - it hasn't been outstanding but has been solid. There've been fewer ewe deaths this year and that's being put down to feed being a bit tight. It seems to help. Now that grass growth has  taken off farms are just comfortable for feed.

In the Nelson/Motueka region people are still hand thinning vines and taking out side flowers on the kiwifruit gold crop. Work is about a week behind normal. In apple orchards chemical thinning's being used to remove the surplus crop load. Shoot training's underway in hop gardens and a lack of soil moisture means irrigation systems are being turned on.

It's been a windy week in Marlborough and with only 40 millimetres of rain in the gauge for October it's getting dry. Our contact near Blenheim says the clovers starting to wilt on northern faces on his property. Ewes and lambs are on rotation. Lambs are on the light side but with some warmer days recently, they've turned the corner. Finishing cattle are going to the works at a carcass weight of 320 kilograms and prices are excellent too at $2000 per animal. In vineyards, spraying for powdery mildews in full swing now that grapes are well and truly in leaf.

A farmer at Hokitika on the West Coast says even though they've had daily showers, conditions are a lot better than last week which was wetter and colder. His farm borders the Arahura River which flooded in March and he's still in recovery mode from that. 100 hectares of paddocks were affected and even though it looks okay now, the sodden land is still underperforming. As a result milk production's well back on last season. The farmer's also having to re-do 30 kilometres of fencing. Cows are still on twice a day milking though and mating gets underway today.

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Photo: Susan Murray

The weather in Canterbury's definitely come right this week. Our contact says grass is growing and baleage is being made flat out across the region. Yearling bulls on lucerne are currently growing at 2 kilograms per head per day. Dairy farmers have finally put their silage wagons away. A Cropping farmer says he's just finished planting his industrial hemp crop. It's the last spring crop to go in and the end use of this will be hemp fibre.

Tailing's been a stop start affair in South Otago as it's been so wet. A Balclutha farmer says tail wise it's the poorest result he can remember. He's hoping for good prices at the works to make up for the drop in lamb numbers. Most hogget shearing's done and dusted but people are still waiting to put in summer cereals and fodder beet crops.

Southland urgently needs a good dose of sun. There's been more rain this week and many places are saturated. Our contact on the coast at Waimahaka says paddocks look grey after being grazed. Cows are struggling due the conditions, so he might switch from twice a day milking to a 16 hour a day milking schedule to take the pressure of the girls. Blood samples from the herd's also shown that the cows could do with a B12 booster. On sheep farms most lambs have been tailed and are back behind wires. Tractor-wise the grounds too soft to get crop paddocks back into grass, while oats planted in September are 30 percent behind where they should be.

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