Time for tough calls – Annette Scott:
South Canterbury farmers expect their region to be declared a drought zone before the end of the month, unless rain falls.
Dairy farmer Brent Isbister predicts milk production on his farm will be back at least 15% for the season going on the way his business is tracking with the emerging drought.
Before December his 1150-cow herd was producing 3% ahead of last year but with water restrictions since mid-December, milk flow was now 20% down. . .
Stock cut back as drought looms – Tim Cronshaw:
North Canterbury farmers in dry hotspots are two to three weeks away from a drought.
Farmers are calling the dry run typical for North Canterbury after easier summers lately and a return to the summers of their youth.
They are feeding stock extra supplies and have de-stocked ewes from properties and sold lambs to the store market which they might normally finish themselves to get better prices.
Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Lynda Murchison said farmers around their sheep and beef property in Weka Pass were dry and would go into drought without rain in the next few weeks. . .
Milk collection up; dry fears – Dene Mackenzie:
Fonterra’s New Zealand collection is 4% higher for the season to date but the dairy co-operative issued a warning about the effect dry conditions were having on the east coast of the South Island.
Farmers would be watching closely as irrigation restrictions might be put in place.
Fonterra released statistics for the seven months to December and said the collection rate was 3% higher in December than in the previous corresponding period, as well as being 4% higher for the seven months. . .
Meat goes same way as oil – Dene Mackenzie:
The ASB Commodity Price Index started the year with a fall in all denominations, mainly due to the dipping sheep/beef index.
The 2.7% fall in US dollar terms in the sheep/beef index was largely shared by beef (price down 3.4%) and lamb (down 2.7%).
Dairy prices were flat before the 3.6% overall rise in the GlobalDairyTrade auction. ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said the year started with commodity markets very much in the headlines. . .
Forest and Bird says clearing pests from New Zealand would have significant economic benefits for the country’s primary production and public health.
The Predator Free New Zealand Trust aims to clear New Zealand of rats, stoats and possums in just a few decades by concentrating research on new removal techniques such as introducing infertile males.
Forest and Bird spokesperson Kevin Hackwell said vertebrate pests cost the primary production sector about $3 billion a year. . .
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