Shiploads of straw from the South Island could be transported
to desperate North Island farmers if the dry weather
continues, Federated Farmers says.
The organisation is looking into the feasibility of bringing
the feed by ships and trains to drought-stricken regions.
Droughts have been declared in Northland, south Auckland,
Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay.
Wairarapa, Manawatu, Rangitikei and the top of the South
Island could also be declared as drought regions by the end
of the week.
Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said the big worry
was if the dry weather continued for the next four to six
"Because if we don't (get rain) we won't get enough growth
into the winter and then we'll have a very serious situation
with the North Island not having enough feed to feed its
The group was crunching the numbers into getting feed to the
North Island from the mainland, Mr Wills said.
One ship could carry 10,000 large bales of straw, he said.
"(But) people are talking about some rain later this week and
if it's useful rain then we may not need these ships or the
train, but it's just a case of longterm planning and starting
to put stuff into place if we need to.
"What we don't want is everybody panicking in six weeks if we
don't have any feed."
Meanwhile, MetService said it was still too early to know if
Tropical Cyclone Sandra would bring that much needed rain to
Forecaster William Nepe said some models showed the cyclone
heading towards the North Island, while others showed it
moving towards Australia.
"So there's still some uncertainty as to exactly where it's
Sandra was the best chance of the country seeing any rain
soon, he said.
At the moment the cyclone was just west of New Caledonia.
"The latest advise from Fiji is it was moving southwards very
slowly - about 6 knots," Mr Nepe said.
And the dry weather has forced the Greater Wellington
Regional Council to activate its consent to take extra water
from the Hutt River in order to conserve water held in its
storage lake at Te Marua.
The lake provides water for households, businesses and
There has been no significant rainfall since early February,
which has resulted in low river flows, which will continue to
drop without significant rain in the water catchments.
The consent allows for the flow over the Kaitoke Weir to be
reduced from 600 litres per second (l/s) to 400 l/s,
providing up to an extra 17 million litres per day.