The real summer weather holiday makers are enjoying isn’t quite as good for farmers trying to grow pasture and crops.
In year’s gone by the prolonged dry spell in North Otago would have cut farm production and income with the consequent impact on people and businesses who serviced and supplied farmers.
Those on dry land farms will be finding it tough but there’s now sufficient critical mass of irrigation to keep up production on many farms.
However, there is potential for more irrigation with water sotrage which makes sense and cents.
Federated Farmers president Bruce Willis says:
This shows why our push for water storage infrastructure has been heeded by Government. It will provide New Zealand’s farm system with a means to store rainfall when it’s plentiful, a bit like the way water is stored by our towns and cities.
If you want an economic argument for why water storage makes sense, go no further than November’s Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics. These trade statistics came out of a fairly benign winter and spring.
In the year to last November, the agricultural sector accounted for six of the top-ten physical exports. However, in terms of export dollars, the sector accounted for 80 percent of the top-ten; around $25 billion out of $31 billion.
“When we talk agriculture we include all the work done inside and outside the farmgate. That means our farms and factories generated almost 68 percent of New Zealand’s physical export dollars. Out of our top 40 export commodities, agriculture’s share was 71 percent.
“This is not just a dairy story as meat and forestry all turned in double digit growth too. Wool is now just below $800 million for the year to November and that’s up 31.5 percent on last year.
“Equally impressive are less glamorous but valuable exports like leather as well as animal and vegetable fats. Both recorded year-on-year increases well over 20 percent highlighting that the agriculture sector as a whole is delivering what New Zealand needs.
“This export performance given the current rain, or lack of it down south, underscores why water storage is an economic no-brainer. Water storage is all about future proofing.