Wednesday, 20 May 2020 07:55

Hawke’s Bay’s ‘worst ever’ drought?

Written by  Peter Burke
The parched land on Hawkes Bay Fed Farmers president Jim Galloway’s farm shows just how dry it is in the region. The parched land on Hawkes Bay Fed Farmers president Jim Galloway’s farm shows just how dry it is in the region.

Farmers in Hawkes Bay are facing a desperate situation with no relief in sight from the disastrous drought gripping the region.

In-lamb ewes and in-calf cows are being slaughtered simply because there is no feed on farms for them. Peter Burke reports.

Federated Farmers Hawkes Bay chair Jim Galloway says farmers he’s spoken with – who’ve lived in the area for a long time – say it’s the worst drought they have experienced and possibly the worst in living memory. 

“It just keeps going on and on,” he told Rural News.

Galloway says the small dairy industry in the region has taken a big hit, especially those who are autumn calving.

He says many sheep and beef farmers have already drafted out the bottom third of their hoggets and, instead of putting them in the main flock, have either sent them to sales or the freezing works. Vets have told him that, as a result of this and the lack of feed, scanning numbers are down.

“Let’s face it, we are not far from June and pasture growth in some of the higher country will slow markedly – even if they get rain. They will be struggling to grow their way out of the drought,” he told Rural News.

Galloway says one of the worst hit areas is just under the ranges around Kereru and Crownthorp, but it is also bad around Tikokino and Takapau.

He says a lot of farmers are trying to work out the next class of stock they can sell, if they even will sell and what effect this may have on the viability of their business long term. 

“The reality is that the quicker they make decisions the better because if they get rid of stock they will have less worry and it will be better for them in the long term,” he says.

More like this

Drought-tolerant rootstocks

Large and small companies are seeking strategies to reduce their water use and impact on the environment and to mitigate risk in drought years.

Nervous wait for winter

The unknown of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust head Mike Barham.

Double whammy for farmers

Two weeks ago, many farmers in Northland were in drought recovery mode, now they are repairing fences and culverts washed away by flooding.


Longest running ag field days all go

The South Island Agricultural Field Days, held in Kirwee on the outskirts of Christchurch, will celebrate its 70th year in March 2021 with a bigger demonstration area.


New Feds man keen to build

New Feds board member, William Beetham wants the organisation recognised for its significant contributions to NZ farming and society as a whole.


Machinery & Products

New tractor fills the gap

Deutz Fahr has introduced the new 8280 TTV, which is aimed at filling the gap between its current 7 and…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


OPINION: This old mutt had to have a giggle at the dig Feds recently made at the Green Party in the…


OPINION: Your canine crusader was aghast to read that the prices of zucchini and cucumbers rose more than 30% in…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter