Trust advises care as drought threatens

Farmers in the Waimate and North Otago districts are being urged to keep an eye on each other as the area becomes "critically dry".

Affected areas included Waimate, Waihaorunga and through the Hakataramea Valley and coastal North Otago, Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Lindsay Purvis said.

Stock seemed to be in good order, which was often the case when drought started, and some farmers were weaning lambs at 8 weeks old, Mr Purvis said.

There seemed to be a market from Dunedin south for store lambs, although the store beef market had "virtually collapsed".

"Drought is all about making decisions early and getting on, and looking after yourself, your family and carrying on farming as much as you can," Mr Purvis said.

Once decisions were made, "stick with them, don’t look back" and keep in regular contact with bank managers and accountants, he said.

He also urged farmers to keep an eye out for neighbours and friends, to make sure they were coping, and to take a break off-farm.

As well as the dry, it had been a "bloody tough year" with Covid-19 and the anxiety around the Government’s new freshwater regulations.

"I don’t think anybody will be sorry to see 2020 go," he said.

 - Anyone with concerns should contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.

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