The green, green grass of Maniototo

Cattle and sheep take in the sun and lush green pastures near Ranfurly yesterday afternoon. Photo...
Cattle and sheep take in the sun and lush green pastures near Ranfurly yesterday afternoon. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Green fields in the usually-barren Maniototo have some farmers casting their minds back to the 1970s.

Unusually high rainfall, including a recent heavy downpour, was welcome news for the industry after months of dry heat last year.

Gimmerburn farmer Duncan Helm said things were looking "bloody magnificent".

When asked when he last remembered the area looking so green he said "1979  comes to mind as a pretty good season".

"Usually we have 15 or 16 inches of rain [around 40cm]  a year, but my neighbour already had 28 inches this year."

This year the area "didn’t have a winter and had a really good autumn". Wedderburn farmer Stu Duncan said there was "plenty of moisture and plenty of grass".

"This time last year we had 30 days of 30degC. This has been one out of the box really."

Federated Farmers Central Otago high country spokesman Andrew Paterson said silage contractors were struggling to keep up with demand because of all the grass being made into feed.

"It’s the same in the Manuherikia and in Alexandra. It’s the best we’ve seen  since maybe 2004." 

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