Rain ‘godsend’ for drought-stricken farmers

Waitaki farm sharemilker Myfanwy Alexander is one of many North Otago farmers left jubilant after...
Waitaki farm sharemilker Myfanwy Alexander is one of many North Otago farmers left jubilant after heavy rainfall last week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The grass is greener on both sides of the fence following last week’s heavy rainfall around the Otago region.

Federated Farmers North Otago provincial president and sharefarmer chairwoman Myfanwy Alexander said it had been a "godsend" for most drought-stricken farmers, particularly those in North Otago.

"We had 35mm of rain over three days here on the farm, and that was perfect.

"It was almost getting to the borderline where I was saying, ‘Right, that’s enough now — you can stop’, because for us, that was quite a lot of rain."

She said how much rain farms received depended on their location.

"It seemed to be heavier closer to the mountains, which was where it was drier.

"So that was great.

"It was exactly what we needed."

Miss Alexander said her farm had irrigation, but it had been so long since the area had had rainfall that anything the irrigator did not touch was dead.

"There are several farms around us that don’t have irrigation and they were in serious drought."

She said the only thing that would have been better was if the rain had come a month earlier.

It would have helped winter crops grow to their full yield.

"The rain we’ve had will help, but it’s not going to make a big impact.

"It means many of us will have to buy in extra supplements — more hay, silage, straw, grain — and that’s quite costly."

If more rain and warm sunshine came over the region between now and winter, there would still be some substance in their winter feeding crops.

Despite the situation, farmers were still glad to see the rain, she said.

"The ground looks different when it’s had rain on it.

"It’s a little bit greener and honestly, it cheers everyone up."