Plans for supplementary feed ‘out the window’ thanks to unseasonal heavy rainfall

Farmer in rubber boots standing on muddy dirt road in countryside, feet from above

One farmer has had 400mm of rain on his farm over the last six weeks. File pic
Photo: 123RF

A Northland farmer says wet weather has been wreaking havoc on his efforts to grow supplementary feed.

Jason Smith, who farms sheep and beef in Ruawai, south of Dargaville, said he has had 400mm of rain on his farm over the last six weeks – he would normally get about 20mm in that time period.

“So far for us in Northland, we’ve had an incredibly challenging spring and start to summer,” he said.

“All of the normal seasonal patterns of rainfall have just been blown completely out the window by massive amounts of rain.”

Smith said the wet weather had a huge impact on his maize crops, as he had been able to plant only 52ha instead of the usual 86ha during this time of year.

Any crops he had been able to grow, he was struggling to harvest in sodden paddocks.

“Our silage, 20 hectares of silage and hay was shut up for growing in advance of mowing back in late September.

“It’s still standing now, we haven’t been able to get onto the paddocks to cut that and there have been too few windows for that one project to happen.

“We’re just one farm – that’s replicated across the entire region of Northland.”

Smith said the wet weather could have flow-on effects for next autumn, if farmers have failed to grow enough supplementary feed.

The region needed a couple of weeks of fine weather for the ground to dry out, he said.

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