Wednesday, 14 February 2018 11:55

Supplementary feed dwindles as weather plays havoc in south

Written by  Peter Burke
Southland farmers working through drought are facing a dwindling supply of supplementary feed. Southland farmers working through drought are facing a dwindling supply of supplementary feed.

A dwindling supply of supplementary feed is one problem facing Southland farmers working through drought.

Federated Farmers Southland president Allan Baird, a dairy farmer near Dipton, says the market for palm kernel (PKE) has tightened because a lot of PKE was fed out in November, December and January. 

“A lot of the suppliers’ stocks have been consumed and now they are restricting [what they have] to farmers with contracts; that’s taken away some of the short-term supply. You’re never quite sure how much to contract so you contract 30-40% of what you need and hope to pick up the slack if it’s required. 

“Every summer is  different in Southland,” Baird says. “Some years you may get away without needing PKE at all whereas this summer is a 15-20-year dry period and it’s really been in demand.”

Reasonable rain fell a couple of weeks ago, with coastal areas getting 50mm and inland 100mm, he says. In Dipton they got about 60mm. 

Some parts of the province are worse hit by the drought than others: there are pockets where it is bad and others where it is not as bad. Traditionally there are places where in summer it is relatively easy for dairy farmers -- from the coast up towards Dipton where Baird farms.   

“The southwest rains traditionally come in and  keep those areas in good shape. But this season the rains have come more from the northwest and so properties in Mossburn through to where I farm here in Dipton have received still below-average rain; but we have had some rain so it’s not as dire as other parts of the province.”

Farmers in Southland have seen their options narrowed. They rely on summer crops such as turnips and grass silage. 

Irrigated farms have found themselves in trouble with low river flows causing some irrigation schemes to be shut down; not enough rain has fallen to recharge rivers and groundwater. 

Now farmers must wait and see what the rest of February brings, Baird says. Normally it’s Southland’s driest month. 

More like this

What are they hiding?

Federated Farmers says it is “puzzled and frustrated” by the Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) failure to immediately release the peer review of Essential Freshwater nutrient band technical reports.

Be active, engaged

Farmers must stay active and engaged with the submission process, says Federated Farmers environment and water spokesman Chris Allen.

» The RNG Weather Report

Featured

A big future ahead

Age hasn't been a barrier for young vegetable grower of the year Austin Singh Purewal.

 

Sheep and beef doing its bit

No increase in stock numbers in the sheep and beef sector is anticipated as the industry moves towards carbon neutrality, says Beef + Lamb NZ head of nutrition Fiona Windle.

Fonterra lifts milk price

Good news for Fonterra farmers – the co-op is increasing its 2019-20 forecast farmgate milk price by 30c/kgMS.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Lack of interest

The final list of candidates for Fonterra’s board election is out. Surprisingly only one candidate came through the farmer nominated…

DairyNZ poll

Talking about elections, the DairyNZ board election is shaping up to be a much more exciting affair.

 

» Connect with Dairy News