Wet on the coast; very dry inland

The Otago flooding around Henley and elsewhere on the Taieri (pictured) has restricted grass growth. Photo: Otago Daily Times
The Otago flooding around Henley and elsewhere on the Taieri (pictured) has restricted grass growth. Photo: Otago Daily Times
This spring is a game of two climates in Otago.

While the dry season is ''causing concern'' in Central Otago, areas such as Henley and elsewhere on the Taieri are still recovering from July floods, and the soggy conditions are restricting grass growth and the ability to run stock to avoid paddock pugging.

Central Rural Services contractor Reid Gare, of Springvale, near Alexandra, said the district was ''very, very dry''.

''Central Otago is dry and people are getting quite concerned, particularly inland and around Alexandra and Fruitlands,'' Mr Gare said.

He said he had recorded about 8mm of rain in the past three months on his property.

He said Becks had 70mm in July, during the heavy rain period.

Although he had already cut a paddock for a client in Fruitlands, he said ''growth was stagnating''.

''We are normally going by now.

''Quite a few people are getting concerned about how dry it is.

''It is probably a bit patchy and not looking good at present but every day brings us closer to getting rain,'' Mr Gare said.

Contractor Wayne Weir, of Weir Contracting Ltd, Ranfurly agreed that it was dry and that October had been poor, although it was still relatively early in the season.

''It has been a long time since we had a decent shower of rain,'' Mr Weir said.

''It is reasonably dry, and it was not a very nice October, cold and windy, although September was good.''

He said it was too early to say if the conditions were likely to have an impact on feed.

''If it stays dry, we will see challenges in the next three or four weeks as that will have an impact on the amount of work we can do.''

On the other hand, the Taieri was flooding in July and pasture was still wet and recovering.

Total Harvesting co-owner Rebecca Mitchell, of Outram, said it was still early in the season and the area was starting to dry out, although ''everything was slow'' and there was little growth.

''There is still a lot of general moisture and the grass is slow-growing,'' Mrs Mitchell said.

''A lot is looking quite yellow from being in the water and just struggling to grow.''

However, they had made some baleage from a run-off block but they had not done any silage.

''A lot of farmers had made extra feed last season and most of that was eaten.

''They are predicting it is going to get dry this summer so it is going from one extreme to the other.

''It is going to be an interesting season.''

-By Yvonne O'Hara

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