While rain might have dampened some people's Christmas
spirits, it has had the opposite effect on Otago's farmers.
In the past few days, 49mm of rain has fallen in Dunedin
city, 26mm at Dunedin airport, 21mm in Balclutha, 19mm in
Oamaru, 1mm in Alexandra, 5mm in Queenstown and 2mm in
The cloudy drizzle was expected to continue through most of
the weekend until a norwester pushed it away, the Metservice
''At this stage its looking like it'll be a fine New Year's
Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg said rain
of a week ago was good, but the Christmas rain had been even
better, and meant farmers could relax over the holiday
''It's exactly what we needed as we were heading in the
direction of getting a bit grim.''
Some farmers had been weaning lambs early but there was not
the quality feed for them and Clydevale dairy farmers were
starting to feed silage to stock and move to 16-hour milking.
''The rain is just what the doctor ordered. The ultimate
Rivers along the coast continued to rise but were not near
flood alerts yesterday.
Moa Flat farmer Blair Johnston said more than 7.6mm of rain
had fallen in the area in less than a week.
''It's been getting real dry and we were heading for a
drought, so it was needed.''
Many Central Otago cherry growers are between varieties at
present, and Alexandra and Cromwell orchardists seem to have
got off lightly, compared to Teviot Valley fruit growers, who
bore the brunt of the wet weather.
Several Teviot Valley cherry growers said they had received
more than 7.6mm of rain in the last week and were yet to
assess the rain damage to the ripening crop.
''There's certainly been some damage after all that rain and
we've had helicopters in several times drying off the trees,
but we'll assess the damage when we're back into harvesting,
'' orchardist Stephen Jeffery, of Roxburgh said.
The sodden weather did not seem to be bothering summer
holiday campers, with many making do.
Dunedin Holiday Park manager Daniel Grubb said there had been
no cancellations and people were continuing to pitch tents in
the camping ground.
''With the whole country like this, they are grinning and
''It's still warm and it's not windy.
''And there are still plenty of things campers can do
indoors, like the Boxing Day sales and visits to the
peninsula wildlife parks.''
Leith Valley Touring Park owner Terry McLaren and Aaron Lodge
Top 10 Holiday Park owner Margaret McLeod said the rain did
not seem to be putting people off visiting their premises,
although some had decided to hire cabins rather than pitch
their tents in the rain.
Patronage was down on this year's Otago Heritage Bus Society
Christmas bus service.
The society operated two suburban routes servicing the
community along the St Kilda to Brockville/Halfway Bush
route, and the St Clair to Normanby route.
A spokesman said compared to previous years, patronage was
down, but he suspected it was due to the cold damp weather
which didn't encourage locals to get out and about.