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Published: 2010-05-04 00:00:00

Waikato farmers affected by the drought are being urged not to hold off calling the Rural Support Trust or rural professionals if they need help, despite some recent rain and positive news on Fonterra’s dairy payout.

Waikato Rural Support Trust chairman Neil Bateup said calls to the trust’s farmer helpline had eased in recent days.

He suspected this was due to a combination of Fonterra announcing a rise in payout, recent rain and the fact that the hardest hit farmers had probably already rung in.

But he believed many farmers would be getting more and more worried given that substantial rain had still not fallen.

"We need a good 75 millimetres of rain over three to four days before we can say the drought has broken, and then we need ongoing rain after that to keep pastures healthy."

Environment Waikato said only about 20-40 millimetres of rain had been recorded in the past week at monitoring sites in much of the farming areas around the region.

"Every day that the dry conditions continue, we’re getting more people worried about their ability to grow enough grass for winter and the impact this will have on their ability to ensure they have enough feed for their stock," said Mr Bateup.

"I encourage any farmers who’re worried about coping to start talking to their farm advisor, accountant or bank manager now. The trust is also happy to provide advice."

The Rural Support Trust’s contact number is 0800 787 254.