Farmers Urged to Prepare for Dry Summer

Farmers are being encouraged to prepare for another dry summer.

Otago Rural Support Trust tree and Otago Drought Recovery Committee member Amy Francis said the trust formed a committee after a drought was announced in Otago in April this year.

Francis' own sheep and beef farm had been dry.

The recent rain had been amazing, but the soil still lacked moisture, she said.

Many farmers would have used most of their surplus feed over winter, and the situation was likely to be tight for many.

Francis urged farmers to create a feed plan and to prepare for dry conditions.

Having a plan will hopefully eliminate some of the stress going forward, she said.

The drought committee members include Otago farmers and representatives from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The ministry provided some funding to support affected farmers and has two free feed services available.

The Feed Planning Service connects farmers to an industry expert to calculate feed demand and supply and to investigate options to fill in the feed gap.

An initial feed plan could be completed in 20 minutes, said Francis.

The Feed Coordination Service connects farmers with surplus feed and grazing to farmers who need it.

Both services can be accessed by calling 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646).