Two seminars to advise on drought action

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Two free seminars in the South will offer a chance to plan to mitigate some of the effects of the long, dry summer on farming operations.

Thirteen organisations, including Federated Farmers, are hosting the seminars, the first at Otautau tomorrow, starting at 10.45am at the Combined Sports Complex, and the second at Gore on Friday, from 10.45am to 12.30pm at the James Cumming Wing.

Federated Farmers Southland meat and fibre chairwoman Bernadette Hunt said those involved in the farming industry were keen to give farmers a chance to air concerns and carry out some long-term planning.

Mrs Hunt said there were concerns about a possible shortage of winter feed.

“There’s people struggling to feed their stock now,” she said.

Parts of Southland were hit harder than others.

The drought was unusual in that it had hit areas normally immune to extreme dry conditions such as southern Southland, Tokanui and Western Southland.

Properties north of Gore had been hard hit as well as the Te Anau basin which was normally an area that would dry out in extreme conditions.

“There are some crops around that have failed.”

Organisers did not want to panic farmers but were keen to give them a chance to plan ahead, she said.

The format would be:

Where are we compared with averages, and what can we expect from coming weeks?

Breakout workshops with Beef + Lamb NZ and Dairy NZ, with specific dry-weather management information to support decision-making.

A combined session on winter crop assessments, decision-making, available support.

Information gathering from farmers about what they are experiencing in their locations.

Barbecue lunch provided.