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The Hurunui Adverse Events committee chairman and former Hurunui mayor said he believed he had learnt a lot from the 2014-17 droughts, including the need to make decisions early on what farmers could control.
Last week, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor classified the drought in the North Island, parts of the South Island, including North Canterbury, and the Chathams as a large-scale adverse event, unlocking up to $2million in Government funding to support farmers and growers from now until June 2021.
The committee was monitoring how farmers were coping in the dry conditions, and wanted to remind them a wealth of experience and information was available to help them through the dry spell.
‘‘Seeking advice and support from your rural professionals is a wise move, whether it is financial, stock health, stock disposal or advising on supplementary feed and green feed crops.
‘‘They have a wealth of knowledge to assist your decision-making.
‘‘Remember, too, looking out for your neighbour is of paramount importance.’’
‘‘On top of normal demand for freezing works space, in other parts of the country there were reports of longer delays due to the coronavirus slowing export demand. So booking in early is a must.’’
Mr Dalley said there had been good spring growth and a generally good production season, which had become dry as normal from December on.
‘‘While we usually expect the autumn rains to kick in from next month and set us up for winter, we will be in an uncomfortable position if the rains don’t come this year, and farmers need to prepare for that eventuality.’’
Cheviot had missed most of the recent rain and some springs were drying up.
Cheviot-based Dan Maxwell, the Federated Farmers North Canterbury meat and wool chairman, said farmers were being proactive and making decisions regularly as needed.
‘‘It’s vital that farmers are decisive over the next month if no substantial rain arrives,’’ he said.
‘‘Always have a date set, and if it doesn’t rain then implement their action plan.
‘‘A $10,000 hit to the budget can soon turn into a $15,000 hit if conditions continue to deteriorate.’’
Anyone concerned about how farmers or their families are coping is urged to call the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust on 0800787-254.